The Nigeria Table Tennis Federation (NTTF), on Monday, urged the players who could not participate in 2017 International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF) African Junior Championships in Tunis, Tunisia, to look beyond the disappointment.
Paucity of funds denied Nigerian players participation in the tournament that served off in Tunis, Tunisia, on Sunday and will end on April 15.
Nigeria’s absence at the competition may have cost two of the country’s representatives fighting for slots to participate in the 2018 Youth Olympic Games.
Ten players, comprising five boys and five girls are billed to compete in Tunisia.
The boys are Azeez Solanke, Abayomi Animashaun, Amadi Umeh, Jamiu Ayanwale and Taiwo Matti, while the girls are Tosin Oribamise, Agnes Onoja, Rafiat Jimoh, Sukurat Aiyelabegan and Iyanuoluwa Falana.
Solanke and Oribamise are to also take part in the Youth Olympic Games qualifiers also in Tunisia from April 16 to April 17.
NTTF’s Technical Director Anderson Bankole said in Lagos that the players should see the disappointment as a wake-up call to prepare better for other upcoming tournaments.
“We all know how painful this is considering all the efforts put into training, but I urge them not to allow this development to derail them.
“They shouldn’t see this as a setback but accept it as God’s will, if it wasn’t His will, they would have made the trip.
“Honestly, it wasn’t a deliberate act by the federation, we are constrained financially and we really tried to savage the situation.
“I want them to return to their states and build upon the skills acquired during camping so as to be better players,’’ he said.
Bankole, a Deputy Commissioner of Police (DCP), said that there would definitely be other international competitions for them to attend.
“The International Table Tennis Federation calendar is a jam packed with many competitions.
“If funds are made available by the sports ministry, they will attend other competitions. I want the players who would have made their debuts at the competition not to lose hope and concentration,’’ he said. (NAN)