Fatimo Bello and Rilwan Akanbi emerged women and men singles Gold medallists after A week of top class table tennis action at the Molade Okoya Indoor Sports Hall of the Teslim Balogun Stadium for the 2021 NTTF Championship.
The 6 day event saw a total of 300 of players from 12 clubs and 12 states participate in 12 different events which include the cadet boys and girls, U21 boys and girls, men and women’s singles, mixed doubles, men and women’s doubles and the men and women’s team events.
The tournament saw Fatimo Bello of G20 Club Abuja continue her dominance as the most rated home based female table tennis player in the country as she won Gold in the women’s single category. This is also after winning Gold at the recently concluded National Festival in Edo state.
She defeated Bose Odusanya of Lagos State 4-1 (15-13, 11-9, 8-11, 11-5, 11-1) to emerge undisputed National Champion for the third time in a roll.
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Speaking on her win against a tough opponent who had the Lagos crowd behind her all the way she said: “I had lost to her 3-1 in the team’s event, so I had to talk to my coach to teach me some tricks to defeat her.”
In the men’s singles winner, Ridwan Akanbi of Atinuke table tennis club pulled off a massive comeback from two sets down to defeat Mati Taiwo 4-3 (7-11, 8-11, 11-6, 11-6, 11-9, 8-11, 11-9).
Mati who had won Gold in the U21 boys category raced into a two set lead only to allow Akanbi back to level and take the lead in the fourth set. Mati rallied back to make it 3-3 but eventually lost the final set to settle for Silver.
In the In the cadets’ division, 15-year-old Samuel Boboye of Bayelsa won three straight sets (12-10,11-3, 11-9) against Matthew Kuti of Lagos to win the boys’ singles event, while Cross River’s Hope Udoaka, 14, got the better of Aisha Rabiu of Lagos to win the girls’ event.
Winners in men and women singles events will take home the sum of N250,000 each, while U-21 and cadet champions will earn N100,000 and N50,000 respectively.
The tournament was organized by the NTTF in collaboration with the Lagos State Sports Commission (LSSC) and support from Baba Ijebu Bet, Prime Atlantic and a host of other sponsors.