The yearly National Junior League organised by the Nigeria Table Tennis Federation (NTTF) will hold with the qualifying matches slated for the National Training Centre, National Stadium, Surulere from July 27 to August 2 in Lagos.
Hundreds of junior players across the country are expected to compete in the league with top 16 players in the boys and girls’ events qualifying for the grand finale, at the Molade Okoya-Thomas Hall of Teslim Balogun Stadium on August 4.
The tournament, which serves as a platform to unearth new players and assemble teams for major international competitions for the country, will herald the Africa’s elite tournament, ITTF Challenge Nigeria Open, which commences on August 8.
Bearing his mind on the championship, NTTF President, Ishaku Tikon, said it would unearth players that will substitute the ageing players in the national teams.
“Primarily, the aim of the national junior league is to discover the young talent that are hidden before and preparing them to step into the shoes of older players like Aruna Quadri and the rest.“It is very important for us and it is a platform we developed to take table tennis to a higher level. Through this league, we are going to discover a lot of players, have them identified and we now begin to work with them in synergy with great players like Quadri and rest of them that are already ageing,” he said.
He added that, “We are looking forward to see that Nigeria continues to be seen by the world as a table tennis hub in Africa. So this is our target to discover young talents that are hidden, bring them on board and develop them to face the challenge ahead.
“Table tennis on daily and yearly basis is moving in the world and we must be seen as moving together with the world.”Speaking on the effort of his predecessor on the game, Tikon stated that the foundation laid by Oshodi it easier for his continuity.
“I must give credit to the synergy between us when I was on the board with Barrister Wahid Oshodi as the president. We worked very closely and that makes it easy for me to step in and move forward from there. “The NTTF has moved forward and that is glaring as we are among the performing federations in Nigeria. I key into the progress the previous board made and look at other areas to improve in order to take us to the next level and that is where we are now,” he said.