NTTF says Commonwealth Games selection strictly on merit

The Nigeria Table Tennis Federation (NTTF) says the selection of players for the forthcoming Commonwealth Games in Australia will strictly be based on merit.

NTTF’s National Coach Nasiru Bello told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Wednesday in Lagos that the trials would be very competitive as players would be eager to make the team.

NAN reports that the 2018 Games is scheduled for April 4 to April 25 in Gold Coast, Queensland, Australia, would feature 275 events in 18 sports with 70 countries participating.

“We had a national trial in December which identified some outstanding players in the ongoing camp, but we owe the nation a duty to present a formidable team for the Games.

“The target is to improve our record because our performance in Glasgow was not impressive where we got only a bronze medal in the men’s team event.

“Besides, those who have featured in the Commonwealth Games will strive to maintain their position, while first timers will also struggle to displace them in the final trials proposed for February.

“The home-based are anxious to make a name for themselves and have the opportunity to be listed in the world ranking after their participation in the Games,’’ he said.

Bello said that the quest had compelled home-based players in camp to absorb rigorous training daily in the Knock-Up Hall of the National Stadium, Lagos.

He said that the players were responsive to the programme which included services, stroke techniques and skills, adding that those were necessary to sharpen their forms.

“We observe training twice daily; morning and evening sessions and we also carry our foreign-based players along as part of build-up for the final trials.

“Training is going on well, the players are doing well in line with the programmes we are giving them here, the foreign-based are not left out,’’ he said.

The coach popularly known as Alakoro expressed confidence that the country would top the medal table in various events that would be featured in the Games.

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