The International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF) has listed Valuejet Lagos Para Table Tennis Open among the Factor 20 events in its 2022 calendar.
Valuejet Lagos Para Open is the second para tournament to be staged in Africa in 2022 after Egypt Open and it has joined the growing list of elite para tournaments to be sanctioned as a ranking and evaluation event for top players across the globe by the world table tennis ruling body.
According to Pablo Pérez, ITTF Head of Para, the decision to sanction and list Valuejet Lagos Para Open was based on the evaluation of the ITTF team coupled with the experience of Nigeria in staging a world title event. “After organizing the event three years in a row from 2019 to 2021, the Nigerian federation finally felt prepared to ask for the sanctioning. They invited ITTF to send an inspector to watch the event and evaluate the conditions and the conclusions were positive,” he said.
He was particularly impressed with the huge support the private sectors have been given the tournament. “I am positively surprised that the event will have a strong private sponsor. This is not common at all in para events, most of the LOCs depend on public funding and, so far, it is more difficult to attract private enterprise to support para sport events. I congratulate the Nigerian LOC for keeping that valuable partner for three years,” he added.
With this development, the ITTF official said: “I expect to have many players from as many different African countries as possible. Para TT has a great potential in Africa, Nigeria and Egypt have many international players but we want to see many more different countries, so the competition level will increase,” Perez enthused.
He however, expressed optimism of the organisers to stage the tournament while urging them to tie all the loose ends observed during the inspection.
Considered as an end-of-the-year tournament, the 2022 edition of the tournament will hold on December 15 to 17 at the Molade Okoya-Thomas Hall of Teslim Balogun Stadium in Lagos.