Taraba and Cross Rivers have emerged champions of the Men and Women’s Singles at the 2018 Aso TableTennis National Championship respectively.
The four-day tournament at the Abuja National Stadium saw Seun Ajetunmobi of Taraba beating Onaolapo Ojo of Ondo 4-3 in the Men’s Singles to become champion with a cash award of N200,000.
Onaolapo Ojo came second with a cash award of N100,000 while Taofeek Maya of Oyo and Azeez Sholanke of FCT came third and fourth, with a cash of N50,000 and N45,000 respectively.
In the Women’s Singles, Cecilia Akpan-Otu defeated Fatima Bello of Rivers state 4-0 to become champion, winning cash of N200, 000.
Bello came second with a cash of N100,000 while Esther Oribamise of Ekiti and Fatima Kazeem of Oyo came third and fourth respectively with a cash of N50,000 and N45,000.
In the Junior Boys singles, Jamiu Ayanwale of Rivers State defeated Aboyomi Animashanun 4-1 to become the winner with a cash award of N50,000 and N30,000 respectively.
For the Junior Girls singles, Oku Ekpenyong of Cross River defeated Bukola Ajay of Ekiti 4-1 to win the title with cash of N50, 000 and N30, 000 respectively.
The Cadet Girls was an all Kwara affairs as the state won all the prizes with Falana Iyanuoluwa defeating Sukurat Aiyelabegan 3-0 to win the first prize of N40,000 and N30,000 for second prize.
The veterans were not left out as Bolaji Asekun defeated Charles Yisah 3-2 to win a standing fan.
Declaring the 13th edition of the championship closed, the Chairman, Aso Table Tennis Club, Dr Olusegun Ajuwon said the tournament over the years had helped to develop young players that would fly the country’s flag.
Ajuwon solicited media partnership, adding that the media should see the association as partners in sports development.
He said that the depression that the country witnessed affected the competition, noting that he was, however, impressed with the number of participants.
The chairman noted that the 13th edition of the championship recorded 26 states and 276 athletes participating, describing this as encouraging in spite of the economic situation.
Ajetunmobi, winner of the Men’s Single, thanked God for the victory, adding that he won because he was able to study the play pattern of his opponent.
On the other hand, Akpe-Otu said training, confidence and her strength resulted in her victory.
She thanked the organisers for giving young players the opportunity to showcase their talents.
She said: “The championship is good; it is also good that the organisers provided accommodation for players. This is a good development and I think it will help to encourage more young players to participate in previous edition.
“It is not ease for a state to sponsor athletes, so providing accommodation is a welcome development.”
The News Agency of Nigeria report that the championship is used to celebrate Ajuwon’s birthday annually.
One highlight of the event was players, officials and members of the association taking turns to dance with the celebrator.