The Minister of Youth and Sports, Barrister Solomon Dalung, has lauded Table Tennis star, Azeez Solanke who emerged champion at the recently concluded 2019 Africa Table Tennis Junior championships.
Solanke dethroned former champion, Marwan Abdelwahab of Egypt with an impressive performance of 13-11, 4-11, 10-12, 11-5, 13-11, 11-6. Dalung, who impressed by the performance of Team Nigeria to the 2019 International Table Tennis Federation organised Junior Circuit and Cadet Open Championships in Accra, Ghana ,opined that the future of Nigeria’s sports lies in the grassroots.
“Nigeria’s sportsmen and women have continued to make the country proud at local, continental and international meets. The various Sports Federations have also gone to extreme lengths to ensure that their athletes participate in those competitions despite the paucity of funds.
“The Ministry of Youth and Sports pledges its commitment to supporting our athletes, especially at the grassroots level. I congratulate you and hope you remain focused in other assignments ahead.
Solanke won the top prize in the junior boys’ team event and partnered with Jamiu Ayanwale to claim the junior boys’ doubles gold while Taiwo Mati also won gold in the boys’ Cadet singles In the same vein, Dalung also hailed the Golden Eaglets for their 5-4 victory over host, Tanzania at the ongoing U-17 African Cup of Nations.
He commended the team for their resilience against the host who also fought gallantly in front of their fans during the ding dong game. “The team really impressed me with their performance. They should take a game at a time while the coaching crew should correct the lapses noticed during their first game on Sunday”. Dalung assured the team of Nigerians’ support in their quest to conquer Africa and qualify for the U-17 FIFA World Cup.