BY TIMOTHY AGBOR, OSOGBO
Osun State Governor, Gboyega Oyetola has lauded the Chairman, Osun State Table Tennis Association, Ayo Alabi for building an ultra-modern table tennis hall for the use of Osun athletes saying the hall will boost youth participation in the game, reawaken the lively environment of the stadium and help raise international table tennis champions from the State.
Oyetola who stated this in Osogbo during the commissioning of Michael and Felicia Alabi Table Tennis edifice urged other well-meaning citizens of the state to emulate the good gesture of Chief and Chief Mrs Ayo Alabi by exploring opportunities provided by the state government’s enabling environment to contribute their quota to the development of the state.
Represented by Secretary to the State Government, Wole Oyebamiji, the governor said, “this government has in the last three and half years in office evolved a rich culture of partnering with well-meaning members of this society to the development of infrastructures which has positioned the state as one of the fastest-growing in tourism in the country. Judging by this increasing partnership, I strongly believe that the inauguration of this hall will further assist in opening new sports frontiers.
“This Michael and Felicia Ultra-Modern Table Tennis hall is a welcome addition to the galaxy of facilities that our administration is assembling to raise the standard of sports in Nigeria. From the precinct of this hall, champions shall be raised and careers shall be nurtured, and each time these happen, the dreams of this amazing couple shall be realised and Osun shall be glorified.”
Speaking on the present administration’s efforts on sports development, he said, “our three-prong strategic approach to sports development – discovery and nurturing of talents, development of sporting infrastructure and reward for outstanding achievements and welfare of athletes and their coaches remains unshakable. By the time we’re done with the implementation of these strategies, sports shall be a huge factor in the comity of sectors for bolstering the image of Osun and garnering foreign exchange for the state.”
In his address, Osun State Commissioner for Youth and Sports, Yemi Lawal who spoke through the Special Adviser on Youth and Sports, Gboyega Adelabu highlighted several efforts of the government on sports development and assured that the Ministry will continue to engage and empower Osun youth through sports and assist them to reach the peak of their careers.
In his remarks, Chairman Osun State Table Tennis Association, Ayo Alabi appreciated Governor Gboyega Oyetola for approving the construction of the edifice at the premises of Osogbo Township Stadium which according to him was a major milestone in his drive to engage Osun youth to be more productive through sports.
“Our history in Osun is enriched with panache for growth, development and success. This feat today will produce an Osun indigene scaling local and international heights as we sought to assert ourselves in sports most especially Table Tennis. Therefore, Osun State table tennis has taken a giant step towards moving from being just playing the games to a successful entity into being significant in the lives of Osun youth that have passion for sports”.
On his other plans, Alabi said, “two months ago, my siblings and I hosted 17 states to our annual table tennis event in Otan Ayegbaju with over 250 participating athletes where over 4 million cash was given out in several categories. Next year, we have decided to host the whole 36 states of the federation. Our government cannot do it alone, we need synergy to work together in moving our state forward,” the Otan Ayegbaju born philanthropist stated.
The High point of the programme was the commissioning and official opening of the hall by Oyebamiji who engaged a renowned international award winning journalist, Tunde Fagbenle in a novelty game. The event also featured cultural display and exhibition matches by Osun table tennis athletes.