Rafiu Alarape of Consolidated Chapel on Wednesday emerged champion of the maiden edition of Ogun State SWAN/Tokunbo Talabi Table Tennis Championship with a cash prize of $50.
The highly competitive final took place inside the Iwe-Iroyin hall of the Ogun State Council of Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) in Abeokuta, the State capital, with the Silverbird Television personnel defeating Afolabi Sobande of Radio Nigeria/Parmount FM, Abeokuta by three sets to two.
Alarape was tied at two sets apiece after losing the opening set 8–11, winning the following two 12–10 and 11–9, and then losing the fourth set 10–12.
However, he entered the decisive set with vigour, winning 11-8 to secure the trophy and a $50 star cash reward, while Sobande finished in second place with $30 in prize money.
In the tournament’s other semi-final, Sobande defeated Sunday Adenekan of Ogun State Television (OGTV), while Alarape defeated Segun Folarin of Paramount FM Abeokuta to get to the final.
Adenekan and Folarin, who came third place, each received a $20 cash award.
The amount of participation from members of the State branch of the Sports Writers Association of Nigeria (SWAN) thrilled Mr. Tokunbo Talabi, Secretary to the Ogun State Government (SSG) and event sponsor.
The SSG, represented by Mr. Bayo Adenekan, Special Adviser to Governor Dapo Abiodun on Finance, reaffirmed the administration’s commitment to the growth of sports and the continued discovery of great talents and stars from the State such as Segun Torinola, Kehinde Okenla in table tennis, Tobi Amusan who is the world 110m hurdle record holder and the likes.
Michael Azeez-Ogunsiji, State SWAN Chairman, requested that the competition be sponsored annually by SSG in order to promote the game among members.
He underlined members’ willingness to make the tournament more competitive, stating that the majority of them have now registered with the Alake Sports Complex’s table tennis department in order to work harder on themselves and shine in future editions of the competition.
The SWAN also urged stakeholders like as philanthropists and business organisations to work with the government to further the development of sports in the state.
“We are calling on multi-national companies to partner with the State Sports Council Council, sports associations in the state to see on how we can galvanized sports to discover future talents for major national and international competitions”, he pleaded
High point of the event was the presentation of special medals to the SSG, State Commissioner of Sports Development, Mr. Wasiu Isiaka and top officials of the State Sports Council