The Guardian (Nigeria)

Efunkoya National Cadet Table Tennis Championsh­ip debuts

- By Samuel Ifetoye

THE maiden U-15 National Cadet Table Tennis Championsh­ip organised by the Efunkoya Foundation as a memorial to the late Dr. A. A. Efunkoya will hold from today to July 27 at the Indoor Sports Hall of the National Stadium, Surulere in Lagos State.

The three-day championsh­ip, which will commence today with the screening of the interested youngsters to ascertain their true ages, will feature events in the boys’ singles, girls’ singles, boys’ doubles, girls’ doubles and mixed doubles categories. According to the organisers, aside from the winners being given cash prizes, educationa­l scholarshi­p would also be given

to the athlete, who distinguis­hed his or herself during the championsh­ip. Speaking at the unveiling of the event yesterday, one of the beneficiar­ies of the late Dr. Efunkoya’s era as the table tennis federation boss, former coach of the Nigeria Table Tennis Federation (NTTF), Babatunde Obisanya, said the championsh­ip was initiated by a group of past stars, who felt the need to honour a man, who played crucial role in their careers and yet left unsung.

“This group of people shared a desire to give back to the country that made many of them Internatio­nal stars by reaching down to help in the developmen­t of young talents. They decided to form a foundation in the name of Dr. Efunkoya and to organise a yearly competitio­n for young players drawn from all over the nations,” Obisanya said.

Also speaking at the event, the former president of the NTTF and excommissi­oner of sports in Lagos State, Enitan Oshodi eulogised the legacy left behind by y

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Efunkoya, which he said was behind his passion for the game of table tennis.

“We were neighbours, and I can attest to the fact that he was a humble man. My passion for table tennis was because I lived close to Dr. Efunkoya. He was a phenomenon in sports. To Dr. Efunkoya, it was important that the athletes also went to school,” he said, adding that every y of the good things that he did 30 to 40 years ago are things the country is still struggling to put in place in terms of the standard he set while he was in charge of managing table tennis in the country.

“He loved sports but table tennis was where his passion lied. We will be ready to give whatever assistance needed to encourage the foundation succeed,” he stated.

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