With less one day to begin the international table tennis federation, ITTF Challenge Seamaster Nigeria Open at the Molade Okoya-Thomas Hall of Teslim Balogun Stadium, the contingents of India and China are expected to touch down in Lagos today (August 7) in readiness for the qualifying round of the championship holding from August 8 to 12.
One of the Indian players expected at the tournament is 19-year-old Mudit Dani who has decided to take a foray into the senior cadre when he competes at the Nigeria Open.
Mudit Dani, a former ITTF Junior Circuit champion will be playing his first senior tournament in Lagos but he is unperturbed by the pedigree of stars heading to Nigeria.
“Yes, this is my first ever appearance on ITTF’s 3 tier Professional Platform (Challenge Series/World Tour/Platinum Tour). Talking to the Indian players who played
at last year’s Nigeria Open, I heard that it is one of the best events to play at.
“The stands are full of loud and enthusiastic supporters that appreciate and understand table tennis. They are extremely proud of their Nigerian players but also show a lot of love and support to international players – something that is not so common at other world events. In short, they make you feel warm and encourage you to do your best, and I can’t wait to play in front of them.
“With India’s top few players preparing for the Asian Games in August, the next few players including some young upcoming players have been given a chance to play at the Nigeria Open. This would be the perfect chance for us to prove ourselves on the world platform and gain experience of playing on the senior circuit.”
“Finishing on the podium would be a dream comes true in my first senior event, but my main aim for this event would be to express myself and play to my potential against the best of the best in the world. Just competing and interacting with players I have grown up watching on YouTube and TV is going to be a fantastic experience. I think I will be coming in with no expectations as the famous saying goes “expectation is the mother of all frustration.”
“Being my first senior event, I just hope to be able to bring out my A-game, play hard, yet fair and soak in this valuable experience. Irrespective of results, this tournament will surely be a very special few days in Lagos. I can’t wait to get started,” Dani said.