Lagos – Labour union strike action failed to deter table tennis lovers, who on Wednesday turned out en-masse at the opening of the International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF) Premier Lotto tournament in Lagos.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that 90 per cent of the 2,000-seater Molade Okoya-Thomas Indoor Sports Hall of the Teslim Balogun Stadium, venue of the competition, was occupied by spectators.
NAN reports that 115 participants from 14 countries including hosts Nigeria are featuring in the five-day competition scheduled to end on May 22.
Participants and spectators were seen in large number rejoicing, clapping, discussing and felicitating with one another while others were busy exchanging pleasantries.
Some of the spectators told NAN that they would not miss the opening ceremony of the competition for any reason.
One of the spectators, Sahid Bakare, said that even though he spent twice the normal amount on transportation, he was elated to watch the opening events.
“ I am a die-hard fan of table tennis, I will do anything to watch it; I will be coming from now till the final day to watch.
“I haven’t miss the competition since its inception in 2013 and the current economic situation won’t be a reason for me to miss this edition,’’ he said.
Bode Adesanya, another fan, said that he moved from Ajah to Surulere with his cousin to watch the competition.
Adesanya said that although he could get enough information in the media on the competition, he prefers to watch it live.
“ I am particularly watching out for Segun Toriola, I have heard so much about him and want to watch him play live.
“ He is old in the sport and I want to assess his abilities,’’ he said.
A female fan, Mojibola Hasstrup said that she came to support Team Nigeria to victory.
“ Some of my male friends were talking about the competition and I decided to come and watch it live. I am not a lover of sports but I like what I am seeing now.
“Well I might begin to love table tennis after all,’’ she said.
NAN reports that the Nigeria Table Tennis Federation and the Lagos State Government had provided adequate security around the venue of the competition.(NAN)