Deputy Governor of Lagos State, Femi Hamzat, has assured the International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF) that the state is ready to host World Championships in near future following the successful hosting of several ITTF-sanctioned tournaments in the last eight years.
Speaking during a courtesy visit by the ITTF team to his office in Lagos yesterday, the Deputy Governor, said the state would continue to support table tennis while assuring that they would be willing to host the world based on the experience of hosting several tournaments in the past.
“I am excited to receive the ITTF team in my official office which used to be the office of the Governor of Lagos State which was built in 1979 and this visit is significant, especially in this office. We are happy that our efforts have started yielding positive results with Quadri Aruna now ranked among the top 10 players in the world.
“In the past, it used to be the Chinese that dominated the top in the world. We will continue to support table tennis and we want all our visitors to enjoy the atmosphere in Lagos and we are ready to show what more we can do by hosting world championships as we are ready to do it and we believe ITTF will consider maybe for next year,” Hamzat said.
The ITTF team, led by Executive Vice President Wahid Enitan Oshodi said the visit became necessary following the huge support ITTF has got from the state in the last eight years.
“We are here on a Thank-You visit because Lagos has been a major supporter of table tennis in Africa, and we are happy that the support has started yielding fruit now that Aruna is now ranked among the top 10 players in the world. We hope that more players will come through like Aruna. Lagos has been the backbone of table tennis in Africa, and we hope that this support will be sustained by the state,” Oshodi said
For the President of ITTF Africa, Khaled El-Salhy, Lagos has continued to raise the bar when it comes to hosting major table tennis tournaments while ITTF and ATTF would continue to look up to the state for more support. “We are grateful to the government and good people of Lagos for their hospitality and support in the past few years and we at ITTF has recognised the important role that Lagos plays in Africa, and we hope we can continue to partner with the state to host more tournaments because of the experience in terms of putting a top-class organization,” El-Salhy.
The Lagos team had the state Commissioners for Youth and Social Development, Segun Dawodu and his Information and Strategy counterpart, Gbenga Omotayo. The ITTF has Vice President of ITTF Africa, Prof Germain Karou; Deputy Chairman, ITTF Tribunal, Morenike Obi-Farinde; Chairman, Youth Committee, ITTF Africa, Kweku Tandoh and President of the Nigeria Table Tennis Federation (NTTF), Engr Ishaku Tikon all in attendance.