9ja FlavourTable Tennis

‘Nigeria needs a Table Tennis League’ – International Champion Offiong Edem makes appeal

Offiong Edem, an esteemed international tennis champion, has urged the Nigeria Table Tennis Federation (NTTF) to establish a national league for all table tennis clubs across the country.

Speaking at a press briefing on the upcoming 4th edition of the table tennis tournament for youth aged 9 to 17, Edem emphasised the need for a structured competition akin to the Nigerian Football Federation League to foster a spirit of competitiveness and elevate the sport’s profile.

Reflecting on her club, Canaan Queens of Calabar’s journey to the finals of the African Club Championship in Benghazi, Libya, Edem expressed mixed feelings about their defeat to Egypt’s Petrojet Tennis Club. Despite the loss in the finals, she highlighted their impressive journey, defeating top-rated clubs across Africa to reach the pinnacle of the tournament.

Edem underscored the disparity between Nigeria’s tennis clubs and Egypt’s organized league system, stressing the necessity for a national tennis league to nurture talent and provide exposure for players who may struggle with the costs of international competition. She lamented the financial barriers faced by many budding players, citing the high costs—around $3000—to participate in international tournaments, which significantly impacts their ability to improve world rankings and compete consistently.

“What we have in Nigeria is tennis clubs. We need to have a league. We have many budding players who cannot afford to travel outside to compete.

“Establishment of a National tennis league like what you have in football will help much to bolster Tennis competitions in the country and expose individual players.”

“It is very expensive. You need at least $3000 to process participation. And when you play in such tournaments frequently your world ranking improves.”

Looking ahead to her fifth participation in the Paris Olympics 2024, Edem expressed excitement and readiness, noting her upcoming training camp in Germany before heading to Paris. She anticipated a stronger performance compared to previous Olympics, highlighting the rigorous preparations undertaken by her and fellow athletes in their pursuit of Olympic success.

Offiong said, “I feel overwhelmed to have qualified for the fifth time.

“My participation in the 2024 Olympics will be much better. Many colleagues have departed for their different training camps abroad. I will soon depart for Germany for two weeks before flying into Paris for the Olympics.”

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