Tajudeen Agunbiade and Olufemi Alabi at the weekend shone like stars at the end of the maiden ValueJet Para Table Tennis Open, which took place at the Molade Okoya-Thomas Hall of Teslim Balogun Stadium in Surulere, Lagos.
In the men’s singles event, Agunbiade defeated Algeria’s Karim Bounedouha 11-8, 16-18, 11-6, 5-11, 11-9 to win the tie.
Also playing in the double event, Agunbiade paired with Olufemi Alabi to overcome the pair of Bounedouha and South Africa’s Theo Cogil in 7-11, 11-1, 11-9, 11-7 to make it 2-0 for Team Nigeria.
Agunbiade and Alabi, who were Sydney 2000 gold medalists and are bound for the Tokyo 2020 Paralympics, again claimed the titles in the singles class nine and 10 to add to their medals.
Speaking at the championship, Agunbiade expressed joy over his victory, adding that the doubles event was a tough one against his Algerian opponent.
“It was a very tough encounter though, but we are very happy to win the team event. I just want to use this opportunity to thank the sponsor, Valuejet for giving us this platform.
“We urge other corporate organisations to support Para Table Tennis and expose us to more international events to enable us get to meet new players,” he said.
Chairman of ValueJet, Kunle Soname, who described the championship as a success, stated that the event has come to stay.
“The ValueJet Para Table Tennis Open will be bigger than this next year. You can see a lot of players around and it has been a huge success considering the fact that this is the first time an event like this is holding in Nigeria. I just got information from the President of the Nigeria Table Tennis Federation (NTTF) that the International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF) has written to make this a yearly event in their calendar. For me nothing can be more exciting than this,” he said.
The event organised by Sunday Odebode Foundation was in conjunction with the NTTF and sponsored by the ValueJet Airline.