Boys’ defending champion, Victor Joseph of Kogi State, believes he is equipped to retain his title despite the large turnout of players at the fourth Dr A.A Efunkoya Cadet Table Tennis Championship, which serves off at the National Stadium, Lagos, today.
For the first time since its inception, over 170 players have registered for the yearly championship, which began with a two-day clinic that featured players from 13 states and 36 clubs across the country.
From the list of participants released yesterday by the organisers, 1006 boys and 66 girls will compete at the two-day tournament organised by the Dr A.A. Efunkoya Foundation in collaboration with the Nigeria Table Tennis Federation (NTTF).
Speaking on his chances at the championship, Joseph, a junior student at Government Science School, Lokoja, said: “I will try my best to retain my title, but I must tell you that it will be tough because we have more players that are very good this year and I hope I can bring out my best.”
Tournament referee, John Peters, said the turnout this year exceeded the previous editions with the largest being in 2022 when 64 boys and 37 girls participated in the competition.
“I am extremely overwhelmed with the number of entries we have this year… we have never had it like this. The enthusiasm among the players and the interest from coaches helped to attract more players.
“We had a torrid time screening some players, who are above the U-15 age limit and we are happy that we were able to give more players the chance to be part of the tournament. The Foundation has also done well with the clinic with special focus on the girls,” Peters said.