Seamaster ITTF Challenge Nigeria Open: Upgrade to “Challenge Plus’, biggest gain — Media Officer
The organisers of Seamaster ITTF Challenge Nigeria Open, on Saturday said that the upgrade of the money-spinning competition to “Challenge Plus’’ was the biggest feat ever achieved by the tournament.
The Spokesman for the tournament, Olalekan Ogun, told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Lagos that the competition was now the toast of many ping-pongers to get ranking from the international regulatory body of table tennis, ITTF.
NAN reports that the ITTF Challenge which is ongoing at the Teslim Balogun Stadium was awarded Challenge Plus on Wednesday through a communiqué from the world body, a mark achieved so soon by the five year-old competition.
The 2018 edition has 148 players from 27 countries slugging it out to cart away the 46,000 dollars prize money.
Nigeria’s ITTF 18th ranked player, Aruna Quadri is among the homers jostling for honours with players from Norway, Russia, Scotland, Denmark, England, Slovenia, Italy, Hungary, Romania and France.
Other countries include; Finland, Luxembourg, Holland, China lead Asia along with India, Iran and Thailand. South American representative are; Brazil, Colombia and Argentina.
Nigeria as host leads other African entries that also have Mauritius, Congo, DR Congo, Ghana, Egypt and South Africa.
On the upgrading of the Seamaster ITTF Challenge Nigeria Open, Ogun said that the feat was unprecedented in the history of any ITTF challenge all over the world.
“The competition is just five years down the line, which we only started with 12 countries, but this year, we have 27 countries.
“We now have men and women singles and doubles. The biggest challenge in terms of it is that aside from Spanish Open, Nigeria also has one of the biggest prize money.
“Yet, we also have the good news that ITTF released a statement that the Nigeria competition has been upgraded to `Challenge Plus’, this is the biggest gain so far.
“This means that the player that wins next year’s championships will have more money and more ranking points and also there will be an opportunity for live broadcast,’’ he said.
Ogun said that the opportunity enjoyed by Nigeria in the speedy upgrade was what other countries that started the competition had yet to benefit from.
“The Challenge Plus is only for five countries in the world and Nigeria has been included, this is a great achievement for us after starting behind countries that are already established in the competition.
“Some countries that are in this category had started long way before Nigeria, but we are fortunate enough to have the competition up to this level.
“Also, players from Nigeria will have the opportunity to play alongside top players around the world. For this year, we have players from China and India; they parade some of the best players.
“The competition has also helped Nigeria to build mutual relation with other countries because before anyone can visit another country there must be love for that country,’’ he said.