Majority of the foreign players that featured in the just concluded ITTF Challenge Nigeria Open ‘Lagos 2017’ are looking forward to return for the next edition in 2018.
African and European players are singing same song after having a swell time in Lagos and they have all agreed that attending the next edition will part of their itinerary for 2018.
It was South Africa’s Theo Cogill who first expressed his willingness to make a return to Nigeria, while others followed.
Cogill, who made it to the main draw of the men’s singles event, said the atmosphere coupled with the warmness coupled with the hospitality of Lagosians are irresistible for him not to come back.
“I cannot but return to Lagos next year because I have never attended a well-organised and crowd pulling table tennis tournament like this particularly in Africa. The people are every friendly and the atmosphere in the hall was awesome. I did not expect I will go far but I made it to the first round amidst the quality of players in the competition,” the South African vice champion said.
Also, Hungary’s Berndadett Balint described her experience as memorable.
“I like the tournament because people like table tennis so much. Also the African players were good because they tried their best. This is my first time in Nigeria despite being a difficult tournament, I will like to come here again because I had good memories,” the women’s doubles champion said.
French international and men’s doubles champion, Antoine Hachard, said: “Playing Nigeria Open has been a wonderful experience because of the atmosphere with the sport and the connection with the public was something unbelievable. I think they (African players) are different in terms of qualities and physical attributes. Most importantly, the atmosphere here is great; it not the same in Europe as the atmosphere is Lagos is unique.”
For Sarthak Ghandi, who finished as runner’s up in the men’s singles, every moment at the Molade Okoya-Thomas Hall was awesome.
“I think I have never seen this kind of crowd that cheers the players so well like this before. They showed their understanding of the game and this most times inspires players to give their best. This is my first time in Africa and I will be willing to come back again to Lagos next year,” the Indian star said.