Rafiu Alarape of Consolidated Chapel on Wednesday emerged as champion of the maiden edition of Ogun State SWAN/Tokunbo Talabi Table Tennis Championship with a cash prize of $50.
The Silverbird Television staff defeated Afolabi Sobande of Radio Nigeria/ Paramount FM, Abeokuta by three sets to two in a keenly contested final played inside the Iwe-Iroyin hall of the Ogun State Council of Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) in Abeokuta, the State capital.
Alarape had lost the first set 8-11 before winning the next two sets 12-10 and 11-9 but failed to win the fourth set, losing 10-12, to put final scores at two sets apiece.
He, however came forcefully into the decisive set with a hard earned 11-8 win to clinch the trophy and star cash prize of $50 while Sobande finished in the second position with a prize money of $30.
Alarape had defeated Segun Folarin of Paramount FM Abeokuta in the semi-final to qualify for final, while Sobande beat Sunday Adenekan of Ogun State Television (OGTV) in other semi-final of the tournament.
Both Adenekan and Folarin who are joint third placed winners went home with a cash prize of $20.
The sponsor of the tournament, Secretary to the Ogun State Government (SSG), Mr. Tokunbo Talabi was full of excitement with the level of participation of members of the State branch of Sports Writers Association of Nigeria (SWAN).
The SSG who was represented by the Special Adviser to Governor Dapo Abiodun on Finance, Mr. Bayo Adenekan, expressed the commitment of the present administration to the development of sports to continue to discover great talents and stars from the State such as Segun Torinola, Kehinde Okenla in table tennis, Tobi Amusan who is the world 110m hurdle record holder and the likes.
The State SWAN Chairman, Michael Azeez-Ogunsiji appealed to SSG for continuous sponsorship of the tournament annually to promote the game among members
He expressed the readiness of members to make the tournament more competitive, saying most of them have now registered with the table tennis section of the Alake Sports Complex, to work harder on themselves and excell in the future edition of the competition
The SWAN called on stakeholders including philanthropists and corporate organizations to compliment government in the development of sports in the state
“We are calling on multi-national companies to partner with the State Sports Council Council, sports associations in the state to see on how we can galvanized sports to discover future talents for major national and international competitions”, he pleaded
High point of the event was the presentation of special medals to the SSG, State Commissioner of Sports Development, Mr. Wasiu Isiaka and top officials of the State Sports Council