By Adeyemi Robinson-Adefioye, Lagos
When the ITTF Nigeria Open was first tested in 2013 as Lagos Classics, Cecilia Akpan, claimed the women’s singles title but since then she can only boast of silver medal in the women’s doubles event in 2015.
With two days to the commencement of this year’s ITTF Nigeria Open ‘Lagos 2017’, the 31-year-old mother of one is ready to lead the halting of foreigners’ dominance at the Africa elite tournament holding at the Molade Okoya-Thomas Hall of Teslim Balogun Stadium in Lagos.
However, the member of the Nigerian national team said she is fully ready to battle against the foreigners in Lagos.
“For me this is another chance for us to prove that we can still rub shoulders with the world’s best. The quality of the players this year is no doubt exceptional and in the history of the competition, this is the best assembly of players we have ever had. So it is time for us, Nigerian players, not to allow the visitors to come and cart away all the prize monies and medals. We will surely hold them in all the events,” she said.
She added: “After returning from Morocco, I have not missed any training because I know I must be at my best if I am hoping to contest with the foreigners in the competition. Things are working well for me and I am in top form and eager to commence campaign from the preliminaries which starts on the 9th August. I want to take each game as they come hoping that I will make it to the main draw where anything can happen.”
Akpan, who was unbeaten during the ITTF African Club Championships in Morocco, recently lauded the organisers of the championships for attracting quality players to the competition annually as well as putting Nigeria in the world map of table tennis.
Also, the Local Organising Committee (LOC) of the five-day championships is putting everything in place to ensure a hitch-free tournament. Security, accommodation and transport committees for the tournament are putting finishing touches to their preparations to ensure things work out well during the competition.