By Monica Iheakam
The International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF) Challenge, tagged Nigeria Open which began yesterday at the Molade Okoya Thomas indoor sports hall of the Teslim Balogun Stadium, lived up to expectations in fun and excitement as the fans were treated to thrilling matches in the preliminary round of the singles events.
The 1200 capacity venue was half filled as the players gave the spectators actions to cheer from the start of proceedings to the end of the day one.
Apart from the scintillating performance from the participants, the return of the former Nigerian internationals – Monday Merotohun and Kazeem Nosiru added glamour to the competitions.
Even the foreigners were not left out of the excitement as South Africa’s Danisha Patel believes the quality of play confirmed why Nigeria remains among the best in the world.
An excited Patel said being her first time in Nigeria as she was amazed with the excitement and support that the presence of the fans added to the competition on the first day.
“I am surprised with the kind of support the fans have been giving the players particularly the number of them present at the venue. I was surprised that we could have that kind of number of people coming to the venue on the first day.
“They support good table tennis and they really understand the game. It is my first time in Nigeria and I am excited that the environment was very conducive for the players. I wish more Nigerians can play more in South Africa, as this will really boost the standard of the game in South Africa,” she said.
Today, the fight for places in the main draw of the singles event enter final round to determine players that will compete against the seeded players know their fate.