NTTF tourney: Akanbi, Bello win singles titles

Rilwan Akanbi came from two sets to claim the men’s singles title of the Nigeria Table Tennis Federation National Championships, defeating Ondo State’s Taiwo Mati 4-3 at the Molade Okoya-Thomas Hall, Teslim Balogun Stadium on Saturday.

Akanbi of Atinuke Table Tennis Club, Lagos won the explosive final 7-11, 8-11, 11-6, 11-6, 11-9, 8-11, 11-9.

Mati, who had earlier claimed the U-21 men’s singles title on Friday, was gunning for a double in the singles events, and went quickly ahead, claiming the first two sets.

Akanbi, however, halted the run, winning the third set, before going ahead to claim the next two sets to go ahead 3-2.

Mati fought back, winning the next set to draw level at 3-3 and ensure the game went to the decisive seventh set.

Akanbi however claimed the title, winning the final set11-9.

He described his win as a reward of hardwork.

“I’m so delighted to win this title because nobody considered me as a title contender, having lost form in the last three years. But I think I played my best in this competition. My opponent in the final is a familiar foe, having beaten him in our last two meetings before today’s (Saturday) final. I hope to continue to raise my game hopefully to get myself into the national team,” Akanbi said.

In other categories, Fatima Bello of G-20 Table Tennis Club, Abuja defeated Lagos State’s Bose Odusanya 15-13, 11-9, 8-11, 11-5, 11-1 to claim the women’s singles title.

Bukola Ajayi won the women’s U-21 title, while Samuel Boboye and Hope Udoka won the boys and girls cadet finals respectively.

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