Table Tennis

Desk tennis the salvation within the shadows of banditry

It’s towards this backdrop of those actual risks {that a} group of 16 kids have been taking part in desk tennis in Kaduna and across the nation.

Following their 16 hour arduous highway journey from Kaduna within the north to Lagos within the southwestern a part of the West African nation to compete within the 2021 Nigeria Desk Tennis Federation Nationwide Championships, Olalekan Okusan met the group.

Olalekan Okusan, ITTF Member Relations Media Officer, stories:

When Ahmed Esan was heading residence after an area desk tennis match on the Kaduna Membership within the metropolis centre of Kaduna, a northern state in Nigeria, he determined to board a industrial tricycle. Nonetheless, a couple of minutes after boarding, he misplaced consciousness.

On restoration, he discovered himself in a kidnappers’ den the place he was held for multiple month. Solely the sheer magnanimity of members of the Kaduna Membership secured freedom for him as they paid the ransom demanded by Esan’s abductors.

Nonetheless, this ugly expertise didn’t stop Esan from returning to the desk. As a member of the 16-man Kaduna contingent to the 2021 NTTF Nationwide Championships in Lagos, the expertise in captivity has been erased by the fervour for desk tennis.

“Enjoying desk tennis has actually helped me to overlook the unhealthy expertise I had whereas I used to be kidnapped final yr. I’m additionally grateful to the game as a result of it was by it that I gained admission to check Constructing Know-how on the Federal Polytechnic, Kaura Namoda in Zamfara State. My life revolves across the sport. It has finished so much for me, together with preserving me away from vices.” Ahmed Esan

Esan’s teammate, Binta Kabir, couldn’t disguise her pleasure of visiting Lagos for the primary time. Vigorous on the Molade Okoya-Thomas Corridor of Teslim Balogun Stadium, venue of the match, the Lead Mind Academy scholar stated:

“I’m so excited that eventually I’m visiting Lagos; that is what desk tennis has helped me to realize since I began taking part in at a young age. My father performed alongside the likes of Olufunke Oshonaike and I’m joyful that I’m in Lagos to witness what I’ve been listening to concerning the ever-bustling metropolis. I’m not disillusioned with what I’ve seen up to now since my arrival in Lagos a couple of days in the past. I’m starting to fall in love with town.” Binta Kabir

Binta Kabir aiming to emulate idol Olufunke Oshonaike

Like Kabir, Mohamed Umar can be a primary timer in Lagos. He’s baffled by the abundance of desk tennis skills in Lagos.

“That is additionally my first go to to Lagos. I by no means anticipated the variety of proficient gamers I’ve seen in Lagos. I believed we had few proficient gamers in Nigeria however my coming to Lagos has modified my orientation. Lagos is a spot with many proficient younger gamers who’re superb on the recreation. I’m additionally impressed with what I’ve seen by way of organisation of the match.” Mohamed Umar

One other member of the group, Abubakar Abdulsalam, stated he remained grateful to desk tennis for shielding him from unhealthy firm.

“I don’t know if I might have grow to be a bandit if I had not taken to desk tennis as a result of the game has shielded me from unhealthy firm. My mother and father have been initially towards my taking to the game, however after they realised that it helped to maintain me away from unhealthy associates, they’ve been supporting me. I’m joyful to come back to Lagos regardless of the stress of travelling for over 16 hours from Kaduna.” Abubakar Abdulsalam

The oldest member of the group, Abdulazeez Marwa, stated the group was not discouraged by the hazards they confronted coming to Lagos.

“It’s the generosity of the elite members of the Kaduna Membership that has stored us within the sport, particularly with their large assist by way of tools. Other than offering us with tools, we’ve been in a position to attend a number of competitions exterior Kaduna by their assist. We needed to constitution an 18-seater bus from Kaduna to make the journey to Lagos. We left Kaduna at 10:00 a.m. and we arrived in Lagos at 2:00 a.m. the following day. It was a tortuous journey, however we’re joyful to be a part of the match.” Abdulazeez Marwa

Kidnapping and associated acts of banditry are on the rise in Kaduna. Some 17 college students at Greenfield College kidnapped from their campus within the state a couple of month in the past are nonetheless with their captors. They’ve demanded a ransom amounting to a whole lot of hundreds of United States {dollars}.

Abdulazeez was clear that desk tennis has stored their thoughts away from the social crises in Kaduna.

“It’s unlucky what has been taking place in Kaduna these days however for us, desk tennis has stored us busy, and our thoughts has been taken away from the disaster. Even when one among us was kidnapped after coaching final yr, we weren’t discouraged from going again to coaching and attending competitions. We’re decided to make our state proud. Our coming to Lagos has opened our eyes to a number of methods within the sport. We hope we will have extra alternatives to be a part of different nationwide competitions.” Abdulazeez Marwa

Being one of many three feminine members of the group, Binta Kabir hopes to emulate former African champion, Olufunke Oshonaike, whom she stated remained a job mannequin for her.

“I’ll prefer to emulate Oshonaike as a result of she performed together with my father, and he or she has achieved a lot within the sport. She is now very well-known by desk tennis, and I additionally wish to be well-known like her and journey everywhere in the world.” Binta Kabir

Source Link

Show More

Leave a Reply

Back to top button