Athletes billed to compete at the Valuejet Para Table Tennis Open have started boasting of their ability to win the second edition of the championship, scheduled to start this weekend at the Molade Okoya-Thomas Hall of Teslim Balogun Stadium.
The registration deadline for the competition is today. Tokyo 2021-bound athletes, Victor Farinloye and Olufemi Alabi, have both vowed to come out tops at the end of this year’s championship.
Farinloye, who qualified for Tokyo 2021 Paralympic Games after winning the men’s category eight at last year’s African qualifiers in Egypt, said he is ready to make his efforts count at the event which flags off tomorrow.
“I am happy that we are having this kind of tournament to end the year, particularly this 2020, which has been a challenging one due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and has prevented us from competing internationally.
“We are happy that the sponsors and organisers have kept faith with this tournament, and I am looking forward to showing my class in the competition. I want to show that my qualification for the Tokyo Paralympics wasn’t a fluke,” he said.
Another athlete, Alabi, a gold medallist at the Sydney 2000 Paralympic Games, said this year’s edition would be keenly contested, adding there are strong opponents in the nine to 10 men’s cadre.
“I am excited that we are competing again particularly in this trying year that has been a challenging one due to the COVID-19 pandemic.” This, surely, will put us in good shape going into the year for the Paralympic Games next year.
“I know my class is tougher and this will surely bring out the best in us. But I am sure I won’t disappoint my fans,” he said.
Meanwhile, coordinator of the championship, Sunday Odebode, has stated that this year’s edition’s entries have been tremendous, despite being a national event.
The event is organised by the Sunday Odebode Foundation in partnership with the Nigeria Table Tennis Federation (NTTF) and with the support of the Lagos State Sports Commission.