• Thu. Oct 5th, 2023

Oluwasegun Ilori wins Baale table tennis championship at Ibakan as the winner gets an international scholarship

It was in England, in the late 19th century, that table tennis made its appearance. Taking inspiration from lawn tennis, the first players belonged to middle-class Victorian society. The first game would have been played using a champagne cork as a ball, cigar boxes as bats and books for the net. Back home in 1951, the Nigeria Table Tennis Association was formed, headed by an Englishman – Jack Farnsworth.

The first ‘national’ competition was held in the same year, and the champion was Alaba Vaughan. Table Tennis tennis was a popular participation sport all over the island and mainland of Lagos and currently nationally.

Ibakan Oke as a community has successfully hosted five editions of the January 1st annual Baale Table Tennis championship since 2019 till date.

The progenitor of the annual Baale Table Tennis Championship, Baale Oluranti Ademola Ilori, the sponsor of the annual championship which is a grassroots sports gathering avenue to promote community development, mutual understanding and peaceful coexistence among the communities of Idofe, Iganran, Falafounmu, Ibakan Oke/Isale, Odosapo Jenloye/Toloye, Imope, Aparaki, Odoalamo, Ipari Oke, Okeyejo, Ilaporu, Ipari Isale, Oru, Oke-Olowu, Oke-Eri, Idona, Ijebu-Igbo and Awa as players and participants flock to Ibakan or the table tennis championship annually.

The January 2023 edition came up on the 1st of January as usual and the event was a huge success. The Atunluse 1 of Ibakan Kingdom in Ijebuland in Ogun State, ably represented by his vice, Chief Engr. Dele Bamiro, (Omi o lota) the Ekeji Ilu of Ibakan Kingdom, was full of appreciation for the table tennis participants.

He emphasized that: ‘’the physical activities organised yearly have physical and mental benefits to players. The game engages your mind and demands quick strategies and decisions to win. It trains your mind to focus and make quick decisions based on your opponent’s actions. Not only does the sport help us stay fit and healthy, but it also helps develop individual sporting talents and also helps bring people from the local communities together.’’

According to the Chairman of the organising committee, Olusesan Olukoya, the purpose of the championship has been meant to an extent since its inception as winners have emerged from Ibakan-Isale, Ibakan-Oke, Aparaki and Odosapo though it holds in Ibakan Oke annually courtesy of the Sponsorship of Baale Oluranti Ilori.

At the 5th edition of the championship held at Ibakan Oke on Sunday 1st January 2023 at 4 pm, the winner, first runner up and second runner-up were presented with cash, medals, Branded T-shirts, and trophy rewards as well as other valuable prizes.

The Chairman of the organising committee of the Baale Table Tennis championship meanwhile during the presentation of medals and cash awards informed the participants about the promise made by Baale Oluranti that the winner of the 2024 edition scheduled to hold in a year would have a huge benefit of travelling to any country of his choice on scholarship.

Oluwasegun Ilori, from Ibakan Oke, emerged as the overall winner of this year’s edition while Dare Adelaja of Ibakan Isale and Daniel Ilori of Ibakan Oke placed second and third respectively.

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