Nigerian Table Tennis players promise stellar commonwealth outing


Nigeria’s para table tennis representatives in the 2018 Commonwealth Games have promised a better outing.

Nigeria is among the eight African countries shortlisted and certified for the games by the International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF) Para Table Tennis Division (PTTD).

The Commonwealth Games officially known as Gold Coast will hold in Australia from April 5 to April 25.

Nigeria is expected to feature two players in para table tennis.  The athletes are Netherlands-based Temitope Lanre Ogunsanya (male) and home-based Faith Bazuaye (female).

Ogunsanya said that he would be delighted to represent his country in the games.

Ogunsanya promised to win a medal at the competition.

The consistent and skillful player, who plies his trade with Xerxes Rotterdam Club, said that he had garnered adequate experience to perform well.

I see my participation as an opportunity to fly the nation’s flag as a good ambassador in Australia. I want to bring my talent to play in order to achieve my target of clinching gold medal in my class in the games.I have had an opportunity to compete with players across board in 2017 Slovenia, Hungary, Belgium and Italian Open which really exposed me to the sport,’’ he said.

The class 7 player, who is warming up for the games under the supervision of Nasiru Bello, National Coach of the Nigeria Table Tennis Federation (NTTF), said that he was satisfied with preparations.

He said that he returned to Nigeria to enable him to have direct supervision by Bello.

I have been following preparations from my base through communications with the national coach, but I knew that I needed to come home,’’he added.

Bazuaye, a class 10 player, said she was confident of excelling in the games in spite of the fact that it would be her first outing.

She said that she was familiar with participations and representation of the country in national and other international para championships where she secured medals.

She vowed to exhibit her skill well and make an  impression that would make her a force to reckon with in para table tennis.

I always surprise people whenever I participate in championships because of my performances; I see this Commonwealth Games as another opportunity to exhibit my talent. I must deliver.The training and general preparations have been tough; it is what we need to be in form,’’ she said.

The player noted that para athletes had always brought honour to Nigeria in continental and inter-continental games, saying that table tennis would be one of the nation’s strongholds.

Nigeria, which finished 8th in the 2014 edition of the Commonwealth Games  in Glasgow, Scotland, will feature in nine out of the 20 sports in the 2018 edition in Australia.

Nigeria will participate in athletics, para athletics, para powerlifting, para table tennis, table tennis, weightlifting, boxing, basketball and wrestling.

The Commonwealth Games which holds in Queensland, Australia, will feature 275 events in 18 sports with 70 countries participating.

Zino Dickson