Top seeds all have an easy start to their campaigns at the Valuejet ITTF Lagos Para Open taking place at the Molade Okoya-Thomas Hall of Teslim Balogun Stadium.
A report by the Nation noted that Paris 2024 paralympic Games-bound stars like Isau Ogunkunle, Bolawa Akingbemisilu, Olufemi Alabi, Kayode Alabi, Victor Farinloye, Abiola Adesope as well as Kehinde Lawal and Ifechukwude Ikpeoyi recorded victories in their opening matches at the three-day Factor 20 ITTF sanctioned tournament.
On duty in Lagos were players from Uganda, Benin Republic, Kenya and India as well as South Africa who were impressed with the organization of the tournament.
Ogunkunle, a Commonwealth Games bronze medalist believes the tournament would shore up their ranking while more talents would be unearthed. “I am so excited that we are hosting the tournament again this year because this tournament has helped us to improve, especially playing against our foreign counterparts. Major result of the tournament was the qualification of nine of us for the Paris 2024 Paralympic Games. We are hoping that more Nigerian players will qualify after doing well in the tournament,” the class 4 African champion said.
Like Ogunkunle, Ikpeoyi who has been a major product of the Valuejet tournament said: “My first contact with table tennis was at this tournament and I am happy that through this tournament I have been able to win Commonwealth Games and African championships medals while I will also be making my debut at the Paralympic Games in Paris come 2024. From 2018 when I made my debut in the tournament, I have improved to become the national champion and I hope more players will come through just like I did. We are also happy that the tournament has finally been sanctioned by ITTF as a Factor 20 World Ranking event,” the Delta State-born star said.
Meanwhile, the tournament enters a crucial stage on Friday October 13 as some singles finals will be played while the doubles and mixed doubles matches will be played ahead of the grand finale on Saturday October 14.