For four days, players from Ghana, Liberia, Benin Republic, Togo, and Cote d’Ivoire have been slugging it out at the second ITTF Africa Western Region Championships and today the tournament enters its climax with more winners emerging especially in the singles events.
From the first day of the competition, there were surprises with defending champion Oba Oba Kizito of Cote d’Ivoire tasting defeat in the team event while Ghanaian teenagers – Blessing Labanti and Emmanuella Yaa- Kyere headlining the tournament as the youngest duo in the Ghanaian team.
The players displayed exceptional skills while the officiating officials were up and doing in a tensed but conducive atmosphere.
Thursday, November 4 being the grand finale, dignitaries within and outside Lagos have arrived with the intention to witness the emergence of champions in the remaining four events – singles (men and women) and doubles (men and women).
Apart from Samuel Boboye of Nigeria who showed a glimpse of what he did at the African Championships in Cameroon, Azeez Ogunlade, Rilwan Akanbi, as well as August Emmanuel, showed why Nigeria remains the team to beat in the championships.
Four finals will hold as doubles (men and women) and singles (men and women) with possible new winners emerging from the events.
From the way things have been panning out in the Men’s Singles, it is obvious that Oba Oba Kizito of Cote d’Ivoire may not be able to hold on to his title as he has been twice beaten by Nigeria’s teenage sensation Samuel Boboye in the team and group matches of the Men’s Singles.
Although the Paris-based Ivorien is not giving up on his title defense when he said, “I know what to do when it matters most. That I lost in the team and group matches hold no water for me and I am still hoping to retain my title,” Kizito said.
For the chairman of the Local Organising Committee (LOC), Wahid Enitan Oshodi, the tournament has been a huge success with support from the Lagos State Government through the Lagos State Sports Commission (LSSC) as well as major sponsors – Baba Ijebu Bet.
“We will continue to raise the bar in terms of hosting a major event and this would not have been possible without the support of Lagos State, Baba Ijebu Bet as well as Prime Atlantic and Delanyard who have remained committed to table tennis. We are happy that the players came and they enjoyed themselves under good condition. From what I have seen so far, the future is bright for the region, but we should not relent in our efforts to continue to support these athletes in their quest to become world beaters.”