The International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF) World Tour, Lagos Open serves off on Tuesday March 10 at the Molade Okoya-Thomas hall of Teslim Balogun Stadium after months of preparation.
Eighty-two players drawn from 11 countries will compete in the $46,000-prize-money-championship which is listed on the ITTF World Tour calendar as a competitive series.
The tournament will bring to fore the fierce rivalry between Nigeria and Egypt as the North African team came with a 12-man contingent who will compete in six events.
Unlike the previous editions, where players are expected to compete from the group stage to qualify for the next stage, this year’s will witness a knock-out format, where players will only progress after winning each match.
Mounir Bassah, the ITTF-appointed competition manager, said the stage is set for the commencement of the event as everything has been put in place by the host.
“I am satisfied with what I have seen so far and there is an improvement from what I witnessed last year,” he said.
“I think the tournament is improving each year and I am happy with the atmosphere coupled with the kind of organisation put in place. We are also hopeful that the players will have an exciting time in Lagos.
“The equipment is of world standard as it meets ITTF specifications while the hotel and logistics are also perfect. I believe that the tournament will be more exciting this year with the quality of players competing this year.”
Khaled El-Salhy, the president of Africa Table Tennis Federation (ATTF), praised Lagos fans who make the tournament very glamorous.
“I am looking forward to the huge support the players used to get from the Lagos fans,” he said.
“I think this competition is unique because the fans are always there for the players and this alone makes the tournament different from every other in the continent.
“I must commend the efforts of the Nigeria Table Tennis Federation (NTTF) led by Wahid Oshodi for their commitment and sincerity in igniting the love for the sport among the fans and for us in ATTF, this is very important for our sport to grow and get more sponsors.”