The Ogun State government has underscored the importance of sports as veritable opportunities to promote self-actualization and meaningful engagement for the people towards creating wealth for them.
The Secretary to the Ogun State Government, SSG, Mr. Tokunbo Talabi, stated this yesterday at the finals of the SWAN/Tokunbo Talabi Table Tennis Tourney, organized by the Ogun State chapter of the Sports Writers Association of Nigeria, SWAN, for sports journalists.
Talabi, who is the sponsor of the tournament, was full of excitement with the participation of members of the state branch of SWAN.
The SSG, represented by the Special Adviser to the governor on Finance, Mr. Bayo Adenekan, expressed conviction that the SWAN Table Tennis championship would foster cohesion among sports journalists in the state and galvanize their interest in table tennis.
He said, “Sports present veritable opportunities to promote self-actualization and meaningful engagements for our teeming population towards creating wealth for them. This is my conviction having supported the initiative of the Sports Writers Association of Nigeria, SWAN, Ogun State chapter, on its Table Tennis Tourney.
“I do not doubt that it will foster cohesion among participants and galvanize the interest of table tennis enthusiasts as well as potential sponsors for future engagements.
“The efforts of the honourable Commissioner for Sports, as well as the SWAN chairman, Michael-Azeez Ogunsiji, in rallying support for this event are quite commendable.”
Earlier in his welcome address, the SWAN chairman in the state, Ogunsiji, expressed the readiness of members to make the tournament more competitive, saying that most of them have now registered with the table tennis section of the Alake Sports Complex, to work harder on themselves and excel in future editions of the competition.
The SWAN chairman called on stakeholders, including philanthropists and corporate organizations to complement government in the development of sports in the state.
Ogunsiji said, “We are calling on multi-national companies to partner with the state Sports Council, and sports associations in the state to see on how we can galvanized sports to discover future talents for major national and international competitions.”
Meanwhile, Rafiu Alarape of Silverbird Television, on Wednesday emerged as the champion of the maiden edition of Ogun State SWAN/Tokunbo Talabi Table Tennis Championship, smiling home with a cash prize of $50
The Consolidated Chapel member 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
To quality for the finals, Alarape defeated Segun Folarin of Paramount FM, Abeokuta in the semi-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 each.
High point of the event was the presentation of special medals to the SSG, the state Commissioner for Sports Development, Wasiu Isiaka, and top officials of the state Sports Council.