Akanbi Rilwan and Mustapha Boluwatife emerging champions of the 3rd Prince Bayo Ikujenyo Table Tennis Championship
October 01 (THEWILL) – The grand final of the 3rd edition of the Prince Bayo Ikujenyo Table Tennis Championship took place on Friday October 1 in the large Prince Bayo Ikujenyo Table Tennis Hall, in Olawale Otesile Park, Zone 4, OPIC Estate, Agbara.
Under the esteemed chairmanship of Mutual Benefits Assurance President and CEO Dr Akin Ogunbiyi, top male and female top prize nominees sweated in the hotly contested finals to applause from the grateful crowd.
The occasion began with opening remarks by the host, Prince Bayo Ikujenyo, who welcomed everyone to the third edition of the competition.
Prince Ikujenyo quickly went through the schedule for the day, adding that the occasion will start with the semi-finals and then end with the final.
Prince Ikujenyo introduced the chair of the day, Dr Ogunbiyi, to the grateful applause of all in attendance as he took a seat at the High Table. The Vice-President of Adeniran Ogunsanya College of Education (AOCOED), Dr Adedayo Daodu, then joined the President at the table.
Other guests who graced the occasion were the President of the Ogun State Chamber of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture (OGUNCCIMA), Alhaji Wasiu Olaleye; the former President of OGUNCCIMA, Mr. Akinola Lawson; the President of the Association of Residents of the OPIC Estate (RAOPIC) Pastor Idowu Alebiosu; one of the oldest residents of the OPIC domain, Engineer Adefesan, and the Director of Human Resources of African Fertilizers and Chemicals Nigeria Limited, Mr. Rajinder Malhotra.
After the opening prayers led by a Christian and a Muslim, the first competitors of the semi-final in the men’s category took their places at the table. After a brief exchange of hits across the table, Akanbi Rilwan and Ubanekwo Jude began the Best of Five contest, with two serves each.
Akanbi was the best of the pair and easily won the opening set 11-5. Ubanekwo seemed to start the second set better, but only briefly as Akanbi took a streak of 2-2 to lead to 7-2 before Ubanekwo won the next two serves. Still, there was no competition as Akanbi won the second set 11-4. It wasn’t much different in the third set, with Akanbi winning again 11-4 for a 3-0 victory.
In the second semi-final in the men’s category, Dele Melekeowei faced off against Surmer Qudus, the left-handed semi-finalist, who had shown his excellent long-distance skills during the exhibition and warm-ups for the main event. In a tough opening set, the pair matched each other’s play with Qudus, winning the rally’s appreciation with applause for a strike that brought the score to 5-3 in their favor. He served for the game at 10-8 but missed a shot to take it to 10-9 before winning at 11-9.
Qudus was more comfortable in the second set and took the lead to make it 7-2 before hitting a shot badly and allowing Melekeowei to return to the game. It wasn’t for long as Qudus won the second set 11-5. The pair played a similar third set, but Qudus upped the style early on with a ranged strike that earned him applause from guests and the crowd. They played a long rally before Melekeowei won a point on the sidelines of the table. But Qudus pulled away to win the third set 11-5.
In the women’s semi-final, Boluwatife Mustapha faced Funmilayo Adesosu in the first match. The game was a 4-4 game when Mustapha improved on style and took a 9-5 lead, before winning the opening set 11-8. Mustapha carried this form to the second set, but at 3-3 Adesosu came back and was applauded by winning a long rally at 5-3. The net didn’t help Mustapha as Adesosu won the second set 11-5.
In a very one-sided third set that followed, a series of Adesosu’s mistakes, from missing the ball to knocking it off the board and hitting the net, conspired to give Mustapha an unassailable 11-1 victory as she was using her service for her. advantage. Now, two sets to one, Mustapha needed one more set to advance to the final, and that’s exactly what she got with an 11-7 victory.
The second semi-final in the women’s category pitted Eniola Ogunbanwo against Surmer Zainab. It was exciting to watch Ogunbanwo play because of all the fun she was having and her failed attempts to dodge multiple times where Surmer smashed the ball in her direction. Surmer, who had shown his hand in the exhibition match, declined a bit and the opening set still ended in his favor 11-5. A series of fun moments for Ogunbanwo to avoid being hit by the ball when she raised it too high for Surmer to break it drew some laughs in the second set though, because Surmer missed most of the shots. , Ogunbanwo won the second set 11-9.
From 4-3, Surmer went to 9-3 in the third set before Ogunbanwo got one more point. However, Surmer finished to win 11-4. The fourth set was another lopsided encounter as Surmer went from 0-0 to 10-0. She hit a backhand, smashed some more and it appeared Ogunbanwo had simply conceded before the end. Surmer graciously gave him a point with a deliberate error before closing him 11-1.
The next match was the women’s final and Surmer immediately returned to face the winner of the first semi-final Mustapha. It was a more balanced encounter as neither team gave the other the opportunity to go too far before catching up. At 3-2, Surmer was applauded with a smash that brought the points to 3-3. Although Mustapha advanced slightly to 8-5, Surmer caught up with another clap of another smash for 8-8. However, Mustapha finished the set in the top 11-8.
The second set followed the same pattern, but it was much tighter and garnered more rave reviews as it continued. The players clashed until there was 10-9 in favor of Mustapha and she held on to win 11-9. However, Surmer took a 5-0 lead in the third set, winning 11-4.
In the last set played, Mustapha recovered from the third set sown with errors. Like the first and second, they were tied until at 8-8 Mustapha focused on her serve to win the set 11-8 and become the 3rd edition women’s champion.
It was then time for the male finalists Akanbi Rilwan and Surmer Qudus to fight for the male champion. They started off with a series of long range shots, multiple long rallies and smashes for the absolute entertainment of all present. The first applause for the men’s final came for the southpaw but extremely gifted Qudus when he won the point for 2-3, but a long rally allowed Akanbi to catch up and equalize at 3-3. At 9-9, Qudus failed to return the ball but was called up for his relentless attempts. He always won and won the first set 9-11.
Akanbi shrugged in the first set and immediately caught up with Qudus at 3-3 in the second to score points which brought the score to 10-3 to applause. Qudus tried to catch up but Akanbi won 11-5. In the third set, a long rally ended with Qudus ahead 3-4, but Akanbi quickly came back and took a 10-6 lead before winning the second set 11-8. before leaving Qudus at 6-6 to go up 10-6 and take the second set 11-8.
In the third set, the finalists continued to entertain with long rallies, long range shots and ball smashes. Akanbi looked destined to take him with a 7-2 lead, but Qudus picked up the pace to 10-10 with one of the longest rallies in the final so far. But, the players still couldn’t be separated until Akanbi hit the ball badly and Qudus won 13-15. He forced the final to a decision maker. The close game remained the game of anyone until 10-9 when a long rally that saw Akanbi send Qudus to the right and left of the table ended in a fit Akanbi strike. final victory to give him a 3-2 set victory.
At the end of the centerpiece, Prince Ikujenyo presented the prizes to the contestants. All those who took part in the first stage were awarded 10,000 N, while those who reached the second stage received 25,000 N. The semi-finalists got 50,000 N while the female and male finalists got respectively N 75,000 and N 100,000. The female champion received N 150,000 and a trophy, while the male champion received N 200,000 and a trophy.