NTTF classic trial serves off with 154 players

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Lagos  –  The two-day trials organised by the Table Tennis Federation (NTTF) to select players for upcoming International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF) classics served off in Lagos on Saturday 154 players.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports the players, comprising 106 males and 48 females will slug it out in the knock-up hall of the National Stadium, Surulere.

At the classics tagged “Lagos Opens’’ scheduled for May 18 to May 22 at the Molade Okoya-Thomas Indoor Sports Hall of the Teslim Balogun Stadium, four events would be featured – men and women singles and U-21 men and women singles.

The March ranking of the ITTF was used in granting waivers to the top four players in each of the four categories.

Consequently, eight players would be picked from each event at the trials to join the other four who were selected based on merit.

According to World Tour Open rules and guidelines, a host nation is accorded the privilege of entering 12 players in each event.

NTTF’s Director, Anderson Bankole, in an interview NAN at the venue, described the turnout of players as “overwhelming’’.

Bankole, who is a Deputy Commissioner of Police (DCP), said the turnout showed that the game of table tennis was still popular.

“We were looking forward to seeing a large turnout and what we got didn’t surprise us. The trial is for an international competition and the players know it is a serious tournament.

“From this number of entries, we can say table tennis in is gradually getting back to reckoning.

“And, we still have a lot to do in terms of females; we can see the entry is not even up to half of the males,” he said. (NAN)