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FATIMO BELLO RULES NTTF NATIONAL WOMEN SINGLES OPEN CHAMPIONSHIP

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Seventy-two hours after emerging as champion at the All African Games trial, Fatimo Bello showed her quality as she dominated the maiden Nigeria Table Tennis Federation (NTTF) National Women Singles Open Championship concluded at the Molade Okoya-Thomas Hall of Teslim Balogun Stadium.

She fought her way into the final brushing aside the likes of national player, Cecilia Otu-Akpan as well as returnee Ganiat Aruna to set up a final clash against former junior champion – Tosim Oribamise.

Despite not having the chance to compete in international tournaments like her opponent in the final – Oribamise, Bello made nonsense of the experience of her opponent.

Oribamise who is considered to be Nigeria’s most travelled and experienced player in recent times, was no match to Bello who thrashed the Ekiti State-born Oribamise 4-0 (11 -7, 11-6, 11-8, 11-4) to cart home the N200, 000 star prize money.

An excited Bello said she is determined to make the Nigeria team to the 2019 All Africa Games in Morocco.

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“I’m very happy and excited about the victory. This is going to help me a lot because I won’t stop training and continue to work hard. Training is the key to my success and hopeful I will continue to win.

“I actually started training two months ago for the trials and this Women Singles championship and I was expecting to win, so it is not something surprising. As the first winner of this tournament, which means I’m one of the best players in Nigeria, I will like to play abroad and do all my possible best if I get the opportunity.

“I’m looking forward to play for the National team and excel with the team,” she said.

The tournament sponsored by the NTTF President, Engineer Ishaku Tikon was to rate female players and select team for major championships and the NTTF boss admitted that the objectives of the tournament was achieved.

“We have gotten the result of why we staged the competition. A new queen has emerged and the line-up according to their ranking have also been established, we are good to go and we are prepared to conquer Africa and we are on our way to dominate table tennis in the region,” Tikon said.

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For the former President of NTTF, Wahid Oshodi, the performance of the players was encouraging and with constant training and regular competitions, the players would be ready to compete with the best.

Kunle Solaja is the author of landmark books on sports and journalism as well as being a multiple award-winning journalist and editor of long standing. He is easily Nigeria’s foremost soccer diarist and Africa's most capped FIFA World Cup journalist, having attended all FIFA World Cup finals from Italia ’90 to Qatar 2022. He was honoured at the Qatar 2022 World Cup by FIFA and AIPS.

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