Jeremiah Ikoko, an employee of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), has emerged winner of the Ships & Ports Table Tennis Tournament for the second consecutive time.
Ikoko defeated Philips Ambe of the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) in three straight sets 11-2, 11-3 and 11-4 to claim the ‘Prince Olayiwola Shittu Trophy’ and a prize of N100,000.
Also, Sunday Otaru of Bollore Group defeated Kehinde Borokini of NPA, former four-time champion, to win the third place match of the keenly contested tournament.
The 2019 edition of the Ships & Ports Table Tennis Tournament, which was the seventh in its series, was sponsored by top dredging firm, Lagos Channel Management (LCM) and Skelas Group,
The tournament, which was held at the Apapa Club, Lagos, had 51 players drawn from NIMASA, NPA, ENL Consortium, Tin-Can Island Container Terminal (TICT), LCM and other top maritime organisations.
Speaking on his victory, Ikoko, who works in the Yenegoa office of NIMASA, said, “I am happy to have come all the way from Bayelsa to Lagos to win the trophy the second time. I want to thank Ships & Ports for putting up this kind of tournament together.”
Bolaji Akinola, chief executive officer of Ships & Ports, who hosted the competition, commended all the players who participated in this year’s tournament.
“The aim of this annual tournament is to contribute to the development of the game of table tennis in Nigeria and most importantly, to encourage competitive sporting activities in the maritime sector,” Akinola said during his opening remarks at the event.
He said the annual event is a good way to encourage healthy recreation and socialisation among the employees of the various organisations in the maritime industry.
“Physical activities and exercise of this nature promotes the development of the maritime industry because a healthy workforce is a productive workforce. The more you encourage your staff to exercise through tournaments like this, the more calories they burn and the more they improve their health and reduce the risk of sickness and diseases,” he said,
Akinola said all the matches in the tournament were officiated by certified umpires drawn from the Table Tennis Umpires Association of Nigeria.
Olayiwola Shittu, the immediate past national president, Association of Nigerian Licensed Customs Agents (ANLCA), who has been supporting the tournament from inception, said he was impressed with the quality of organisation and participation in the tournament.
“I am so impressed with the turnout today because I could recall when we started, the number of participants was very low compared to what we have now. I look forward to supporting this tournament yearly and seeing it get bigger and better,” Shittu said.
Past winners of the tournament include Kehinde Borokini who emerged victorious in 2013, 2014, 2015 and 2016; Sunday Otaru who lifted the trophy in 2017 and Jeremiah Ikoko, who won in 2018.