Uchechi Okere has emerged champion at the yearly Alukimba Table Tennis Tournament organised by Lagos-based sports club, El Marino Sports Club, clinching his sixth title. Okere defeated Moses Ideho 4-1 (11-8, 11-8, 11-9, 11-13, 11-5) in a best of 7-set final witnessed by members of the club.
Despite a head start, Ideho was quickly over-powered by Okere with his calmness and a good combination of scintillating forehand and backhand. Ideho, who was playing in his first final, however, tried to salvage some honour in the fourth game with his intermittent backhand shots.
The third-place match was contested by Tokunbo Modupe and Hilton Enahoro with Modupe winning 3-2 to take the bronze. Anthony Akamagwuna and Uchechi Okere were both adjudged the most improved and most valuable players of the tournament respectively.
Now in its 10th edition, this year’s tournament, held at Magodo Hall in Lagos, was staged in honour of its late sponsor, Toyin Alukimba Odunowo, who passed on last year. The one-day championship had 16 top players compete for the top prize in the men’s singles event.
Chairman, Board of Trustee (BOT) of El Marino Sports Club, Stephen Ighomuaye said this year’s event was the first time the tournament would be held without the presence of the sponsor who died in 2020.
“We want to keep the memory of a man who has shown us that we can impact our society with ideas. So, we staged this year’s edition to remember him for his efforts at raising the profile of the club with the sponsorship of the table tennis tournament,” Ighomuaye said.
Tournament’s runner up and Team Manager of the club, Ideho commended the members for turning out to honour late Odunowo with their presence and participation in the tournament.
Public Relations Officer (PRO) of the club, Kayode Bello, told The Guardian that aside from the annual tourney for members, plans were underway to stage a youth tournament that would draw participants in Lagos State as part of the club’s effort to discover talents.