By Uzor Odigbo
Sarah Hanffou (CMR) is one of the top African players expected at the Nigeria Open in Lagos.
European super-powers, Portugal, Russia and Hungary as well as African giant, Egypt including 11 others have confirmed their participation in this year’s ITTF Premier Lotto Nigerian Open (Lagos 2016).
With registration for the event now closed as of last week this year players from Portugal, Russia, Hungary, Egypt, Finland, Slovakia, Romania, Iran, Mexico, Ghana, Congo Brazzaville, Morocco, Tunisia, Congo DRC and Cameroon have confirmed their attendance.
Nigerian players dominated the entry with two-time ITTF World Tour champions, Hungary’s Szandra Pergel will be squaring off against women’s singles defending champion, Portugal’s Jieni Shao as well as her Nigerian counterparts – Edem Offiong and Olufunke Oshonaike.
In the men’s singles, home-boy, Aruna Quadri will have his hands full when he battles against top players from Europe as well his Egyptian rivals.
Thrilled by the turnout of players for this year’s tournament, Tournament Director, Ranti Olajide said this once again confirmed the importance players across the world now attached to the championship.
“As the highest prize money in the Challenge Series of the ITTF World Tour, more players are now willing to be part of the competition in Lagos. Apart from aiming to share from the prize money, they intend to use the championship to amass points for their world ranking as well as qualify for the end-of-year ITTF World Tour Finals. We are indeed excited about the turnout and we hope this year will be more competitive and glamorous based on the quality of the players coming to Lagos,” Olajide said.
Over 122 players across the globe have been listed for the tournament scheduled for May 18 to 22 at the Molade Okoya-Thomas Hall of Teslim Balogun Stadium.
Officials from Egypt and Algeria will handle proceedings at the five-day tournament. In this 2016 Challenge Series of ITTF World the highest prize of $46,000 (N13.8m) is at stake.
Six events are to be competed for and these include singles (men and women); doubles (men and women) as well as U-21 boys and girls. According to the prospectus for the tournament, any player entering for the tournament will agree to abide by all ITTF rules and by the rules and regulations of the Organizing Committee.