Approaching his 60s, former African and Commonwealth table tennis Champion, Atanda Musa of Nigeria has admitted that taking part in the annual Asoju Oba Cup in Lagos added colours to his life.
The New York-based Musa whose rivalry with the late Yomi Bankole became the climax of the tournament was full of appreciation to the late financier of the championship – Sir Chief Molade Okoya-Thomas, describing him as a philanthropist with special passion for table tennis.
“My life will not complete without mentioning the vital role the Asoju Oba Cup played in my life and career. My 90 percent success in life was based on the support I got from Chief Okoya-Thomas when I was a level two coach with the Lagos State Sports Council while he was the chairman of the Council.
“Competing in the tournament from early 1980s really brought me into limelight in Nigeria and earned me a place in the national team.
“As the tournament usually takes place in December, it afforded us the opportunity to win several gift items while my first car in life was through the tournament which I won after defeating Yomi Bankole in one of the finals,” Atanda Musa said.
Even as the family of the late business mogul in collaboration with Lagos State Sports Commission are planning elaborate 50th anniversary of the competition this month, Atanda Musa said that he would forever remain grateful to Chief Okoya-Thomas having contributed immensely to his success on and off the table.
“I cannot quantify the contribution of Chief Okoya-Thomas to my life because it was through the competition that I gained more experience playing against the seniors while I became the first table tennis player to win a brand new Peugeot Saloon car by competing in the competition.
“I must also commend the family for keeping and upholding the legacy of Chief Okoya-Thomas by staging the tournament despite the demise of the initiator,” he added.