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‘We plan to make 55th Molade Okoya-Thomas Table Tennis Championship special’ | The Guardian Nigeria News

Organisers of the now rechristened Molade Okoya-Thomas Table Tennis Championship have promised to make the 55th edition a special one. The competition holds at the Molade Okoya-Thomas Hall of Teslim Balogun Stadium in Surulere, Lagos.

The yearly event, which was known as the Asoju Oba Table Tennis Cup, is the longest sports tournament in the country until the name change by the family out of exigency.

Speaking with The Guardian on the 55th edition, the son of the late initiator of the competition, Ayodeji Okoya-Thomas, stated that this year’s event would follow the usual tradition by the family to make it different from every other year.

“This has always been our practice that after every five years we must to do something special. I cannot say how it will look like this year, but definitely I can assure that it will be something different.

“That is why we have to engage the Lagos State early enough to make sure that the competition is the way it should be and the date is given to us early enough. And there will be no other competition happening on that date,” he said.

Ayodeji, who spoke on how the family had been able to sustain the tournament, said, “God has been the one that has been giving us the grace to continue to do. And like you know, nothing comes easy in life, but the grace is there and we are determined to use it.

“Our passion to continue the competition is not limited to the fact that it was our father’s wish. It is also a passion borne out of love for the state, and the game of table tennis. It is also a personal desire as well and we pray that we will continue to fulfill it,” he said.

He added: “It also gives me great pride to see the championship still continues despite the situation in the country. When we were much younger, I remember there were many corporate bodies sponsoring different table tennis competitions but today they are no more.

“To sponsor the game of table tennis is not as expensive as the game of football. I just pray that sponsors will come into the game. We cannot underestimate the value it is giving to our youths. Corporate organisations should see it as a corporate social responsibility. In other words, giving something back can also be done through sports and I pray that they will see table tennis as one of the sports,” he stated.

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