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How Nigerian table tennis players can reach their full potential — LSTTA Chairman

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Tunji Lawal, Chairman, Lagos State Table Tennis Association (LSTTA) says Nigerian table tennis players can reach their full potential with the right mentality ,the right fitness level and adequate exposure.

Lawal said this in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on the sidelines of the graduation ceremony of the ‘Break the Bias, She Can’ initiative in Lagos.

The programme was organised by Additional Plus Sports and Education Initiative (APSE) in partnership with Lagos State Sports Commission (LSSC).

NAN reports that ‘Break the Bias, She Can’, is a programme designed to train school girls in taekwando and table tennis as well as provide them with political education.

50 girls graduated at the ceremony, held at the Rowe Park Sports Centre, Yaba, Lagos.

Lawal said Nigerian players were not doing better than many of their opponents in other countries because they do not have the right mentality,the right fitness level as well as adequate exposure.

He said the poor performance of the country’s players at the recently-concluded World Table Tennis (WTT) Contender in Lagos was a proof that they needed to do a lot to match their counterparts in China ,Korea and elsewhere.

`The rate at which international players are exposed, going from one tournament to another, their training regimes, and the facilities at their disposal ,are the reasons they are better than our players.

“These players are always careful about what they eat; they don’t indulge in junks and they also monitor their diets.However, Nigerian players don’t have same.They eat whatever comes their way.

“To me, an average Nigerian player is kind of overweight for the game ,and so, finds it difficult to keep up with the standard of the game.

“Nigerian players lack fitness in terms of movement, foot work, agility and other technicalities. We seriously need to restrategise”,he said .

Lawal added: ” Being a professional is a holistic thing; It is not about knowing how to play alone, it is about what you eat and your mentality.

“Athletes must be flexible.They must have pace and be able to move easily.So the way to go now is to encourage the younger ones to take over from the older ones.

“Hana Goda of Egypt became an African Champion at a very young age of 12 , now going to 15 years. She started at a very young age.

“This is why we are encouraging more youngsters in table tennis and encouraging academies to spring up all over Nigeria.”

Lawal said he believed the future of table tennis is bright in Nigeria and that the country should focus on discovering young talents and nurture them to become world champions .

He said ‘Break Bias ,She Can ” initiative was conceived to provide opportunities for young girls and help them to grow in the game.

“The future is bright . We can have players to replace someone like Funke Oshonaike and do better in the global stage.

“If the likes of Aruna Quadri can develop from the street without much support, with opportunity like the `Break the Bias, She Can’ the children can have a better opportunity.

“Our young children can grow with better system, so we are working assiduously to create a better system which will work for us just as it is being done abroad,” he said.

Lawal also urged the state governments to invest in table tennis in order to develop the sport.

He appealed to the Lagos State Government to help with sports infrastructure in order to aid the development young athletes.

“We want to implore the state governments ,especially, the Lagos State to support us and provide enough facilities to be able to develop this game. Lagos was once the best state in table tennis ,while Nigeria was the best in Africa.

“Today, we are struggling to keep up right now because there are no tables, no facilities, no playing hall and all of these are affecting the sport in Lagos.

“As an association, we are doing our best to give all that we can to make the game grow.

“Our Asoju Oba Table Tennis Championship this year will be better- organised. And being the fifth year, the grand prize will be bigger because we are in talks with the sponsors,” he said.

Reading books ,writing materials and certificates of participation were presented to participants at the graduation ceremony.

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Hardship: Protesters Defy Police Warning, Hit Lagos Streets

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Residents have hit the streets of Lagos State to protest against the increasing spike in the price of food and the high cost of living in the country.

The protest was facilitated by a human rights group identified as the “Take It Back Movement.”

This comes against the warning issued by the Lagos State Commissioner of Police, Adegoke Fayoade, on Sunday.

The protesters were seen carrying placards of various inscriptions at Ojuelegba Under Bridge area of the state to express their grievances.

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CBN Lifts Ban On BDCs, Introduces New Operational Mechanism

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In a major development aimed at financial stability and strengthening the naira, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) plans to resume its weekly intervention in the country’s foreign exchange (FX) market through the Bureau de Change (BDC) operators.

In 2021, the central bank, in a bid to achieve its mandate of safeguarding the value of the local currency, ensuring financial system stability, and shoring up external reserves, announced the immediate discontinuance of foreign currency sales to Bureau de Change (BDC) operators in the country.

However, the resumed intervention, which would reportedly commence today for funding as well as Tuesday for collection, will see the apex bank inject FX into the subsector in a bid to rescue the naira from further depreciation against major currencies, particularly the US Dollar. The collection will be at designated CBN branches in Lagos, Abuja, Kano, and Awka, while details of the naira accounts to be credited for funding bidding will also be made available today.

CBN is also expected to publish the list of eligible BDCs to benefit from its funding using certain compliance criteria.National Executive Council of Association of Bureau De Change Operators of Nigeria (ABCON) hinted on the latest developments through a memo to its members over the weekend.

The association also warned members that it will no longer be business as usual under the new supervisory regime of the central bank, as any infringement or infraction would result in outright revocation of license and prosecution.

ABCON said through the association’s various engagements with the central bank, in conjunction with ABCON’s strategic partners, CBN had agreed to its request, under the bank’s supervision, to inject liquidity into the market through a weekly intervention beginning today.

CBN assured ABCON that the new circular on the Revised Regulatory and Supervisory Guidelines to BDCs, which was introduced over the weekend, was only a draft exposure that required the association’s inputs before the release of the final guidelines by the apex bank.

To that effect, the letters of the guidelines were not cast in stone, the association’s leadership told its members, who had been worried over the sweeping reforms in the document, which, among other things, prescribed N2 billion and N500 million minimum capital for national and state BDCs, respectively.

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