AWKA – A Table Tennis Coach in Anambra, Bonny Akunna, on Friday said the sport was almost dead in the state and appealed to the government to revive it.
Akunna made the call in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Awka.
He said that Anambra had not featured in any of the Nigeria Table Tennis Federation (NTTF) organised competitions to which the state was invited since the beginning of the year.
The coach said that the non-participation of the state’s players in competitions this year was due to non-approval by the government.
Akunna, an ex-international player, said the lack of exposure of the state’s players to competitions made the game unattractive and had killed the interest of the abundant talented youths.
He said this was not in line with the policy of the Willie Obiano’s administration which sought to empower the youth through sports.
According to him, some of the competitions missed so far include Toyin Ojeaga U-17 Championships for Secondary Schools, ITTF Course/Para National Open and the GAC ITTF World Tour all in Lagos.
Others are the just-concluded 12th Aso Table Tennis Club National Championships for which he made requests to the government through the ministry of sports.
The ping pong tactician said the competitions prepared states to make meaningful impact at major competitions, adding that it’s wrong to not to offer players the opportunity to prepare for national championships.
“I played the game for Anambra and the country, so, it is bad to watch it die in our time.
“The government should revive the game, staying many months without competition is not the best for players.
“I’m not a staff the ministry but I’m doing this out of the passion I have for the game.
“Some of my players train at table tennis clubs through their personal efforts.
“Anambra used to be among the best but all that is changing now.
“So, my appeal is that not just table tennis but the entire sports in the state should receive adequate attention,’’ he said. (NAN)
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