#BounceExclusive: Can Nigerian Ladies Win First Commonwealth Table Tennis Medal in 2018?
Nigerian man won bronze medal in table tennis at the last Commonwealth Games hosted by Scotland in 2014.
In celebration, Ojo Onaolapo dropped his shorts and bared his pants after his win over India's Sharath Kamal Achanta. A great experience it was.
The next Commonwealth Games will be held on the Gold Coast, Queensland, Australia between 4 and 15 April, 2018 and the ladies are dreaming big.
The Nigeria Table Tennis Federation (NTTF) recently concluded it’s National Open and trials for the Games in Lagos.
About 350 players across Nigeria, both men and women, participated and competed in 18 events including para athletes in the four-day event that served off on December 12, 2017 at the Indoors Sports Hall of the National Stadium in Lagos.
Winners in the various categories were rewarded with cash prizes.
The 2016 women’s champion in the Able category, Cecelia Apkan, defended her title in the women’s singles by defeating Fatima Bello 4-0 and smiled home with N100,000 cash, and also book qualification to the Commonwealth Games.
Cecilia, who was the winner at the 2016 Trials told Bounce News how happy she was to retain her title and her excitement ahead of the Commonwealth Games.
“I’m excited to win the female category. The year has been okay
“The trials make us to come out, meet old friends and play.
She is targeting her first medal at the Games in Australia.
“My target at the Commonwealth Games is to win a medal because no Nigerian female has ever won any medal in table tennis at the Commonwealth because of lack of good preparation. I just have to keep training hard whether or not there is international competition.
“But I believe with the right and adequate preparation, I will win a medal at the Commonwealth.” She said.
For Bello Fatima, she has not featured in any competition this year, but did well to make it to the final, where she lost to Cecilia.
She hopes to make it to Australia in 2018 after the NTTF’s second and final trials.
“I did not think I could reach the final because three months to the national championship, I was not training, this is my first competition this year.
“Cecilia gave me good competition in the final.
“I will do my best to make the country proud if I finally make it to the Commonwealth Games.
2018 will be a big year for the table tennis women only if they get the right preparation in time.
They will be competing against other ping pongers of international standard and only good readiness can make the West Africans have a hope of returning with medals of their dreams.
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