The National Training Centre of the Lagos National Stadium will come alive on Monday August 23 as 20 players made up of 12 boys and eight girls begin camping for the ITTF World Junior Championships in Cape Town, South Africa.
The camping would be used to select the players that will represent the country at the global championship under the watchful eyes of seven-time Olympian, Segun Toriola as part of his efforts to inspire young players.
Some of the players were part of the team that featured at the ITTF African Junior Championship in Algiers where they qualified for the World Juniors.
Also, the outstanding players from the National U-16 tournament also made the list of players invited to camp.
According to the President, Nigeria Table Tennis Federation (NTTF), Wahid Oshodi, the camping is necessary as some of the players would gain from the experience of Toriola, who has been celebrated globally for his consistency and discipline in the sport.
“We are blessed with talents just like Aruna Quadri and we don’t want to lose the momentum by ensuring that we come through with our programmes. This camping becomes necessary as we want to select the best hands among the junior players so that they can also test might with their foreign counterparts at the world juniors. With the experience of Toriola and Michael Oyebode, who were both in Rio Olympic Games, I am confident that camping would have impart on the players and prepare them for the championship,” Oshodi said.
He added: “The selected players will later go into close camping before the championship in November and they will continue to train in readiness for the competition. Toriola will surely depart to his base after the camping and we hope the coaches around can continue to sharpen the skills of the players before the tournament which has Egypt, Nigeria, Algeria and Tunisia representing Africa in Cape Town, South Africa.”
The invited players are Abayomi Animasahun, Azeez Solanke, Amadi Umeh, Michael Abayomi, Augustine Emmanuel, Jamiu Ayanwale, Ololade Oyenekan, Tobi Falana, Etim Orok, Babafemi Babatunde and Umar Ibrahim for boys and the girls include Tosin Oribamise Agnes Onoja, Ajoke Ojomu, Alimot Ayinla, Rofiat Jimoh, Iyanuoluwa Falana, Vivian Akpan and Sukurat Aiyelabegan.
NTTF will cater for the players’ feeding and accommodation while their states are expected to offset their transport fare.