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The Nigeria Table Tennis Federation (NTTF) President, Engr Ishaku Tikom, has admitted that financial challenges affected his team’s performances at the Commonwealth Games held in Gold Coast, Australia.
Speaking in Abuja yesterday, the NTTF boss said though his team met the pre-tournament medal target, the fact that the Ministry of Sports and Youth Development reduced the number of his athletes was enough prove that it faced financial hurdles.
Asked how much of financial challenges he failed, he said: “We actually recorded financial hurdles. In fact, it was because of the financial challenge that my request of nine athletes was pruned down to four. It affected us seriously because I am sure that if the female team had gone there they would have added to the medals we got.”
While giving update on his federation’s participation in the tournament, he said: “We are proud of the successes we recorded at the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games. For a long time now, Nigeria Table Tennis never recorded this feat in such Games.
“We went fully prepared and met our medal expectations buy winning three silver medals.
The pre-tournament preparation in Nigeria was not easy. It was also a very difficult task getting our foreign-based players to come over to Gold Coast because international-based athletes filled the four slots we had.
“After securing approval from the ministry, we had to go with our male team, which based on recommendations.
We also battled with hurdle of getting across to the Portuguese table tennis federation and their clubs to release them.
“From the beginning, we requested for nine athletes, five from the male team and four from the female team. But along the line, perhaps because of the cost implications, they had to look back at our past record in Glasgow where we went with about nine athletes, participated in seven events and came back with just a medal.
“The ministry insisted that it was the basis at which our slots must be reduced from nine to four but when I made personal appeal to the permanent secretary we include one more slot to increase to five.