The International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF) and Africa Table Tennis Federation (ATTF) have described the demise of Chief Molade Okoya-Thomas as a setback to the sport.
Okoya-Thomas, a sports lover and philanthropist, died Tuesday aged 79.
Now, Olabanji Oladapo, the ATTF executive vice-president and ITTF board member, has described the passing of the business mogul as shocking to the table tennis community in Africa.
“The death of Chief Molade Okoya-Thomas was shocking and unexpected by the table tennis community in Africa. Chief Okoya-Thomas is gone but his good deeds will survive him forever,” he said.
“He was a human monument, philanthropist, and father-of-all in sports particularly table tennis in which he was a colossus sponsor. The demise of the longest sponsor of table tennis in Nigeria and Africa will have far reaching effect on youth development in Nigeria and Africa.”
The ATTF official added that the annual Asoju Oba Cup has become a platform to groom future stars for Nigeria with most of them making the continent proud.
“His yearly sponsorships of Asoju Oba table tennis competition for more than 40 years was the bed rock of Nigeria near invisibility in table tennis in Africa for more than four decades.
“The competition produced renowned Nigerian and African Champions like Babatunde Obisanya, Atanda Musa, Segun Toriola, Bose Kaffo, Funke Oshonaike and a host of others. He will be sorely missed by all- Athletes, Technical officials and Administrators in the Continent.”