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

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Last Updated on July 28, 2023 by Fellow Press

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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Accept FG offer above N60,000 as new minimum wage, Opeyemi Bamidele to labour

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The Senate Leader, Senator Opeyemi Bamidele, APC, Ekiti Central has pleaded with the Nigeria Labour Congress, NLC and the Trade Union Congress, TUC
to accept whatever the federal government offered them above N60,000 as the new minimum wage.

Bamidele urged the NLC and TUC to toe the path of dialogue and peace in the negotiation of a new minimum wage, which the President had promised to send a bill to the National Assembly for this purpose.

The Senate Leader has reiterated the need for Nigerians to demonstrate more patriotic spirit and oneness in their daily activities as the nation journeys through its socio-political trajectory towards the promised land.

He made the call in an Eid-el-Kabir message by his Directorate of Media and Public Affairs on Sunday, just as he highlighted some achievements of the administration of President BolaTinubu.

Bamidele said, “The federal government has conceded to N60,000, which translates to a 100 percent increase. But both NLC and TUC turned down this offer, leading to a two-day industrial action.

“The federal government has promised to make more concessions in this respect. As the federal government reveals its new offer, I plead with the organised labour to accept it in the national interest. The economy will remain in this condition. Collectively, we are taking multi-pronged measures to reverse disturbing economic indicators.”has conceded to N60,000, which translates to a 100 percent increase. But both NLC and TUC turned down this offer, leading to a two-day industrial action.

“The federal government has promised to make more concessions in this respect. As the federal government reveals its new offer, I plead with the organised labour to accept it in the national interest. The economy will remain in this condition. Collectively, we are taking multi-pronged measures to reverse disturbing economic indicators.”

While identifying with all Muslim faithful nationwide, Bamidele who noted that Nigerians, regardless of religion and tribes, should team up with and rally support for the Tinubu administration to safely steer the ship of the nation into a successful end, emphasised that no nation could travel the journey of national rebirth alone without the unwavering support of its citizens not minding their political, cultural and social backgrounds and orientations.

He assured that the current administration would leave no stone unturned in alleviating the economic hardship being faced by the majority of Nigerians and re-offer them a sense of pride in their home country.

In the spirit of the season, the Senate Leader urged all Muslims to emulate love and good neighbourliness exemplified by Prophet Mohammed (SWAT) during his time and how he related very well with people of other faiths and nationalities.

Bamidele who appealed that the ongoing reengineering efforts of the Tinubu Administration could only yield democratic dividends in an atmosphere devoid of insecurity, but where lives and property are protected, said: “Just to mention a few among ongoing projects like the 700 kilometres Lagos-Calabar Coastal Highway, the establishment of N50 Billion Pulako Initiative and annual recruitment of 30,000 new police personnel are Key Performance Indicators of this government.

“Only recently, this government declared a state of emergency in agriculture and launched the National Agricultural Development Fund with N100 billion, in addition to the Dry Season Farming Initiative and the Green Imperative Programme to ensure food security across the land.

“All these and other components of the 8-point Renewed Hope Agenda require the patriotic support and prayers for their deliverables to multiply at the doorsteps of Nigerians in the remaining three years of the first term of this government.”

He further urged the Muslim faithful to use the season of Eid el-Kabir to pray for the leaders of the country for divine wisdom and understanding that can match the enormous tasks of leading the country especially at a time when economic realities are not favourable around the world.

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FG updates on UAE lifting visa ban on Nigeria

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The Minister of Aviation, Festus Keyamo, has revealed that the United Arab Emirates (UAE) government will soon announce the date for lifting the visa ban that has been imposed on Nigerian travellers.

This information was shared during an interview with Otega Ogra, Senior Special Assistant to President Bola Tinubu, which is available on the official YouTube page of the State House of Nigeria.

Keyamo acknowledged that while a resolution was reached between President Bola Tinubu and UAE President Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan during President Tinubu’s working visit to the UAE in September 2023, additional processes were required before the ban could be officially lifted.

He said the processes have now been completed, paving the way for the imminent announcement from the UAE government.

“After that high-level meeting, Mr. President, credited to him, made things very easy for us all. We did our follow-ups as his ministers. We have done everything. We have resolved everything.

“Just wait for the announcement from the UAE government, and that announcement is imminent,” Keyamo stated.

The Minister further mentioned that he is aware of the specific date when the travel restriction will be lifted, but he emphasized that it is up to the UAE government to make the official announcement.

The lifting of the ban is expected to restore ease of travel for Nigerian citizens to the UAE, thereby enhancing bilateral relations and cooperation between the two countries.

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