Rilwan Akanbi and Bose Odusanya, yesterday, won the men’s and women’s singles of the 53rd Asoju Oba Molade Okoya-Thomas Cup held at the Teslim Balogun Stadium, Surulere.
In the men’s category, Akanbi dismissed Olakunle Ajulo 4-0 to regain the title he last won in 2017, while defending champion, Odusanya, overwhelmed Kehinde Oyeniyi 4-0 to secure her seventh title in a row in the women’s class.
Speaking on his victory, Akanbi said: “I can tell you that it was not easy winning the title this year. It might look easy with the outcome, but on the table, it was tough. But in all, I thank God that I am able to reclaim the title again after five years”.
The wife of the Lagos State Deputy Governor, Oluremi Hamzat, who was at the event, said that the championship has continued to be a platform where talents are produced.
“I believe Africa’s oldest table tennis tournament, which is in its 53rd edition, will further be of great value and importance in helping us as nation produce and discover new talents for table tennis competitions.
“I appreciate the organisers of this event, the Lagos State Table Tennis Association and stakeholders of this sporting activity for their consistency in ensuring a successful hosting of the yearly tournament,” she said while urging more corporate firms to partner with the organisers to make it bigger in the future.
Earlier, the Lagos State government commended the commitment of the Okoya-Thomas family to table tennis growth in the state with the continuous sponsorship of the yearly event.
Meanwhile, former national junior champion, Taiwo Mati, yesterday at the 2021 ITTF World Youth Championships in Vila Nova de Gaia, Portugal, became the first Nigerian to win a medal at the event.
Mati partnered with Peru’s Carlos Fernandez to win a bronze medal in the boys’ doubles event.
On his feat, Mati said: “I feel so good. I didn’t believe we could get to this stage. We just needed to gain some momentum and courage during the match because we were down 2-0. We just kept on fighting. I’m so happy about this.”