The 2019 ITTF Challenge Plus Nigeria Open might have come and gone, but all the foreign players who featured in the competition will not forget in a hurry their various experience while in Lagos for the tournament, which was held between 8 and 11 August, 2019.
The Challenge Plus Nigeria Open, an International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF) approved competition entered its 6th edition this year and it was held at the Molade Okoya-Thomas Indoor Sports Hall of the Teslim Balogun Stadium, Surulere, Lagos.
It was a tournament where many players across the world converged on Lagos, one of the emerging mega cities of the world, to fight for honours and more importantly improved on their world ratings in the ping pong game.
This year’s competition was not an exception in terms of standard and the world class environment put in place by the Wahid Enitan Oshodi-led Local Organising Committee (LOC) with the full support of the Lagos State Sports Commission. The Executive Chairman of the Lagos State Sports Commission, Dr Kweku Adedayo Tandoh, was the ITTF-appointed Tournament Director for this year’s event.
Some of the players who spoke on their experience at the tournament were full of excitement coming to Lagos. They described their experience as one they would savour for a long time to come.
For the South African, Genevieve, the tournament’s Deputy Referee, the Nigeria Open “is the best table tennis competition I have attended, far better than Italy.”
Vivarelli Debora, a player from Russia said: “This is the best competition I have ever played in my entire life.” She even wished she could get a Nigerian husband.
Dragoman Andrea described Nigerians as fantastic people, adding that she was admired by the people as pleasant comments were passed by the fans to appreciate her beauty.
“Amazingly everybody in Nigeria keeps telling me that I am beautiful,” said the Romanian player, Andreea.
Senegalese Ibrahima Sow was so excited with the spectatorship at the venue of the competition, saying that “the spectators are so amazing; how I wish I am a Nigerian.”
A Saudi Arabia player, AbdulAziz said he and his other colleagues would be back in the 7th edition next year. “Insha Allah, we will come to Nigeria next year,” AbdulAziz said.
To Simeon Mookry from South Africa, the serene and peaceful atmosphere and the hospitality she enjoined during her stay in Lagos were temptations for her to renown her South African citizenship for Nigeria or if possible she would prefer dual citizenship. She asked rhetorically “is it possible I get a Nigerian passport?”
Nigerian Aruna Quadri won the Men’s Singles of the 2019 ITTF Nigeria Open back to back on Sunday after he was unbeaten to emerge winner at the expense of Austria’s Robert Gardos who he beat 4-2 (15-13, 11-3, 8-11, 11-6, 10-12, 11-1) in the final, while Russia’s Polina Mikhailova won the women’s singles title.