Top players in the world of table tennis have entered for the first Lagos International Table Tennis Classics because of its status, according to Olabanji Oladapo, a member of the International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF) Board of Director.
An initiative of the Main Organising Committee of Lagos International Sports Classics in collaboration with the Nigeria Table Tennis Federation, the ITTF-approved tournament has been described as the highest prize money table tennis competition to be staged on African soil.
Oladapo also revealed that players are expected to use the platform to garner points so as to improve in their world ranking.
“The Lagos Classics is an ATTF/ITTF approved competition,” he said. “Hence, it offers Nigerian players in the top three an opportunity to score points and be ranked by ITTF.
“Other players that are coming will also use the tournament to improve on their world ranking. So players that will participate in the competition must ensure that they put in their best.
“Also, it is because of the status of the tournament that attracted some of the top stars to confirm their participation for the competition.”
2011 All African Games singles and team play gold medalist, Omar Assar of Egypt, former Commonwealth Games doubles champion Monday Merotohun are among the stellar line-up for the classics, which has been scheduled to hold from August 26-31.
The ATTF vice-president Oladapo stressed that, “Egypt’s Omar Assar participating in Lagos Classics is a boost to the newly introduced competition.
“Since it is an ITTF approved event, he is coming for the prize money and to score points, which will improve his position in the ITTF ranking. Nigerian players and coaches will also have the opportunity to play against him, watch him and learn from his skills.”
Qualifiers for home-based players will hold on August 22-23. Players will compete in 10 events made up of junior and senior category.
The tournament is billed for the Molade Okoya-Thomas Hall of the Teslim Balogun Stadium.