Abia State Chapter of the Nigeria Table Tennis Federation (NTTF) has begun the distribution of Table Tennis Boards to schools in the state for its “Catch Them Young” programme.
BusinessDay gathered that the maiden edition of the Abia NTTF inter-collegiate championship, which is scheduled to hold in 2024, will be open to all secondary schools in the state.
It was also gathered that the Abia Chapter of the NTTF would provide coaches, who will be available to teach the students the necessary techniques to hone their skills.
Winners of the championship, which will run in two categories of internal and external tournaments, would be offered scholarship.
To participate in the championship according to the organisers, interested schools will be expected to buy Aba-Made Table Tennis Boards from Abia NTTF, for the running of their internal tournaments or enter the NTTF 100 Schools free Table Tennisdistribution scheme.
A student can also obtain the Table Tennis Scholarship if he/she emerges winner in an internal school Table Tennis Tournament (Intra-School) or Inter-Collegiate Championship, involving different schools, as recommended by the Federation.
Dike Dimiri, chairman, Abia State chapter of NTTF in an interview after the presentation of Table Tennis Board to Sacred Heart College (SAHARCO), Aba, said that the scholarship must flow per their academic performance.
According to him, SAHARCO, a popular Boys Secondary School, managed by the Catholic Diocese of Aba, was selected as one of the pilot schools after several considerations, especially the serious interest shown by the school’s management in sports development in conjunction with academics.
Dimiri warned students that the rule must be “no grade, no play” stressing that all deserving scholars must ensure that they maintain academic excellence together with excellent performance in the internal or the inter-collegiate championship to keep their scholarship positions intact.
Dimiri stressed that currently, there are enough locally made tables available for sale and distribution to schools in Abia, a decision he said the NTTF Abia Chapter took to encourage local manufacturers and boost the local economy, as the imported tables are way costly to support the grassroots programme it is running.
Speaking after taking delivery of the table, Obinna Sullivan Achilihu, principal, Sacred Heart College, Aba described the move by the Abia NTTF, as “something good” and stressed that the entire school is glad to have known the utility and the opportunities available for the students, through Table Tennis.
“You can see that as young people, they are all excited and enthusiastic and ambitious in life. They’re prepared to know other positive areas of life that can help them and make them better adults in future.”