The International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF) has hailed the Lagos State Government for keeping faith with the annual Nigerian Open, which has remained one of the most followed tournaments in Africa.
According to Thomas Weikert, the President of ITTF, the organisation of the tournament has made it to become one of the cherished competitions across the globe as well as the highest prize money in the ITTF Challenge series.
In the last three editions, the Open has become the star tournament of the Lagos International Classics with players across the globe gracing the tournament, while it has also attracted more players to Lagos since its inception in 2013.
The ITTF chief believes that the tournament has continued to put Africa on the world map while two of the continent’s best players – Aruna Quadri of Nigeria and Omar Assar of Egypt were regulars of the championship.
Also Khaled El-Salhy, an Executive member of ITTF, said that the tournament has become a brand for Africa. “It is great news that the Nigerian Open has gotten a title sponsor and this is a proof of the professional organization of the tournament in the last three editions. We are excited that it has attracted sponsors. I must also say that this is the first times that such competition will be getting a title sponsor in Africa. I hope more tournament like this will be attracted to the sponsors,” El-Salhy said.
He described the support given to the championship by the Lagos State Government as awesome.
“The fans, spectators inside the venue plus TV coverage from day one in all previous events in Lagos were of real indication to all sponsors about importance of the event and I feel the sponsorship will be a turning point for table tennis in Nigeria and Africa. More players are now willing to take part in Nigerian Open and I hope this year will be an improvement to previous editions.”