*We need to expand the territories to conquer
By Adeyemi Robinson-Adefioye, Lagos
For successfully staging the fourth edition of an ITTF Challenge Series, the International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF) has applauded the Local Organising Committee (LOC) of the 2017 Nigeria Open with a pledge to award more world title events to Nigeria.
According to the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of ITTF, Steve Dainton, aside the quality of players, the quality of organisation has continued to improve annually.
“Ensuring events in all corners of the globe is extremely important for the ITTF. As the only annual ITTF event in Africa for professional players, it is extremely important for the ITTF to continue to support the Nigeria Open. Once again we are very pleased with the turnout of players which has now grown coupled with the event organisation and most importantly the fantastic local vibe that the tournament brings to table tennis and the ITTF. It shows us that we can bring more events to Nigeria and in the near future perhaps we can even bring one of the top World title events to the country,” Dainton said.
Like Dainton, Michael Brown who is the Oceania and Africa Development Coordinator, described this year’s Nigeria Open as a good advertisement of table tennis in Africa.
“The Nigeria Open continues to improve in terms of organisation, this is now the fifth year in which the event has been part of the ITTF World Tour/ITTF Challenge, and with each year an improvement is made on how certain elements of the tournament are organised. As the tournament was able to attract a number of athletes from various European and Asian countries, the tournament had a stronger global following than in previous years,” Brown said.
He added: “we support all tournaments which are part of the World Tour or ITTF Challenge. The Nigeria Open is a key event within these two products, as it is the only event within the African continent. Moving forward we will be looking at further ways it can support such events to ensure a global reach is achieved. However it does take a strong Local Organising Committee (LOC) to be able to host a successful event, which has been evident in Nigeria over the past five years, and can hopefully continue moving forward. It would be exciting to see similar events in countries such as Ghana, South Africa and Kenya as well.”
On areas to improve in next edition, Brown said: “To further increase the global reach of the event, efforts could be made to attract athletes from East Asia (China, Japan and Korea), as well as the USA. These are key markets for table tennis and could assist in further growing the brand of the Nigeria Open, which in turn will assist in attracting more sponsors.”