The President, Africa Table Tennis Federation (ATTF), Khaled El-Salhy has advised stakeholders to continue to sustain the table tennis Legacy of late business mogul and pillar of sport, Okoya Thomas.
El-Salhy, who took time out at the just concluded ITTF World Tour, Lagos Open to pay a condolence visit to the family of late Sir Chief Molade Okoya-Thomas at their Victoria Island residence in Lagos, Nigeria, praised the Late Chief Okoya for using his wealth to promote a cause that has changed the lives of so many individuals in Nigeria.
The ATTF boss, accompanied by the ATTF Vice President and member, ITTF Board of Director, Olabanji Oladapo as well as Former Deputy President of ITTF, Engineer George Segun including board member, Nigeria Table Tennis Federation (NTTF) led by their President, Wahid Oshodi, calls for the preservation of the ideals of the late sport philanthropist.
“On behalf of ITTF, ATTF and NTTF, we want to express our sincere condolence to the family for the exit of this great man. What he has done confirmed that he was a great man who used his wealth to promote a cause that has changed the lives of so many individuals in Nigeria.
We believe this great and respectable has gone but his ideals will still remain with us. He has been a strong supporter of the game and he necessitated the birth of the Lagos Open. We hope that his ideal will be preserved and nurtured by the family even as we hope that others in the continent will emulate this great man''. El-Salhy concluded
For Oladapo, the late Okoya-Thomas was a shining example for all Nigerians considering his humility and generousity toward everybody. “He never stopped sponsoring the tournament which started in 1968 and has produced the likes of Babatunde Obisanya, former Nigeria national coach as well as Atanda Musa, a star in Africa.
Responding on behalf of the family, Deji Okoya-Thomas thanked ITTF and ATTF for deeming it fit to visit the family, while assuring that they their late father’s legacy will be nurtured to grow.
“I am assuring you again that the Asoju Oba Cup will continue and this has been the wish of our father and we hope to make it exciting more''. He said
Before his demise on February 1, 2015 at 79, Okoya-Thomas was the longest individual sponsor of table tennis tournament in Africa as he had bankrolled the annual Asoju Oba Cup for 45 years uninterrupted and the tournament has produced some of the continent’s greatest players like Atanda Musa, Late Yomi Bankole and Biola Odumosu.