Eight-year-old Bright Joel Udoh of Prison Primary School, Calabar was the cynosure of all eyes at the grand finale of the NTTF-sanctioned maiden Calabar Open Schools Table Tennis Championship after he claimed gold medal in the cadet event of the three-day tournament held at Hope Waddel Training Institute Calabar.
Despite his physical size, Udoh was all over the place in the final against Victor Ogar of De-Montes Primary School as his skills was greeted with applauds from the dignitaries at fans at the venue of the competition.
Without any doubt, his skills also attracted the attention of the Cross River Coach, Richard Edem who had decided to groom the player to be a world beater.
With over 103 primary and secondary schools in Cross River competing at N200, 000 prize money championship.
The first four winners in Secondary School category and first four in primary school category got prize money for their efforts while the Managing Director of First Micro Finance Bank Ltd, Mrs. Ima Onoko, has confirmed that they have opened savings accounts for 18 primary school and 18 secondary school students of both sexes who participated and performed well at the tournament.
She said it was part of their joint efforts to encourage the students and to inculcate the habit of savings in them. Royal International Farms and Estates Ltd and Triple Star Printing Press are the other firms that co-sponsored the event.
Orok Duke, chairman of the state sports council also announced that the winners would represent the state at the South-South table tennis championship, and that they would do all possible to activate and encourage the children to develop interest in sports.
Aside Udoh, other winners in the Primary School Girls Single included: Glory Joshua of PCN Akim got gold, Precious Uduak of Bishop King School, silver and Bread Bassey of PCN Akim, bronze.
Winners in the Double category for Secondary schools girls were: Marylene Essien/Ukpe Bassey from West African Peoples Institute while Evelyn Essien/Glory Essien of Govt. Secondary school Atu came second. Winners in Boys category were, Bassey Asuquo of GSS Barracks Road Calabar, gold, Victor Sunday of won silver. Goodnews Patrick of WAPI got bronze.
For the General Manager of the Royal International Farms and Estates Ltd, Usen Umoh, he was very pleased at the tremendous success recorded at the inaugural event, assuring that they, by God’s grace, would continue to sponsor Table Tennis and Taekwondo championships given the atmosphere in order to revamp sports in the state.