Table tennis players need sponsors to get better and rub shoulders with their counterparts who are dominating the sport, Africa’s topmost player, Quadri Aruna, said on Sunday.
Aruna told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on telephone from his base in Portugal that the best players in the world had the best training and support.
“In my opinion, and which I believe will help the sports development in Nigeria, every private company or organisation should be compelled to lend a hand to at least one sport.
“Sponsorship of a sport to either a national or international competition should be included annually in their Corporate Social Responsibility.
“If this can be achieved, Nigeria will be on the right track to dominating in sports.
“Attention should be given to other sports too like it is to football. Yes, globally football gets more attention but Nigeria is taking it to the extreme.
“China and other countries dominating in table tennis put the best facilities in place to achieve this and they constantly support their athletes to competitions,’’ he said.
“Nigerian table tennis players need to constantly feature in tournaments because that’s the way to get better. Exposure is one thing that’s very important in table tennis.
“Confidence level improves when you meet and learn one or two techniques from an opponent and that goes a long way to help your career.
“Points are garnered for world rankings at competitions and that portrays Nigerian players in good light.’’
The 2014 International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF) Star Player said the Ministry of Sports and the Nigeria Table Tennis Federation (NTTF) should not be saddled with the responsibility of organising and sponsoring athletes to competitions.
“Both bodies are entrusted with this responsibility but there is little they can do. The NTTF relies on funds got from the ministry and the ministry has so many federations to cater for.
“The federations are trying their best and I must commend them.
“Most times when they approach organisations and individuals they turn down appeals for help having in mind that ministry is providing funds.
“I commend NTTF’s President, Wahid Enitan-Oshodi, who has brought changes to the federation since he came on board.
“Under him we have attended more competitions and he has severally used his personal money to facilitate our participation’s in competitions,’’ Aruna said.
The Rio 2016 Olympic Games quarter-finalist, added that he had lost count of the number of times he had sponsored himself to competitions.