Seyi Makinde, Governor of Oyo State, has thrown his cap into the ring to challenge Africa’s highest-rated table tennis star, Quadri Aruna, to a contest on the table.
The Governor said this during a courtesy visit by the two-time Nigeria Open champion in Ibadan on Monday.
According to him, being a former table tennis star, he is ready to challenge Aruna in a competitive match in the near future while assuring the state’s commitment to youth development through sports.
Makinde was particularly impressed with the grass to glory story of Aruna, whom he described as a shining example for all youths in the state.
“On behalf of the good people of Oyo State I want to thank you for making use of your God-given gift to bring glory to the state. You are indeed a good example of what one can do with God-given talent. When I was young I tried to play table tennis and I hope I can challenge you to a contest on table,” the governor said.
“We will continue to support people like you and as part of our four pillars in Oyo, we believe we can help our youth to use their talents to generate resources. Oyo State is ready to partner you to produce more stars like you and we will be happy to do that with you,” he added.
For Aruna, the efforts of the governor to revive the fortune of support should be supported by all and sundry. “I am particularly happy and excited with what your government has achieved in sport especially with the newly-commissioned Adamasingba Stadium and I believe we can continue to support our youth to keep off vices through sports,” he said.
The Rio 2016 quarterfinalist added: “I am ready to partner with your government to produce more stars like Aruna which I believe abound in the state. My plan is to set up an academy where players can be groomed and mentored by me. But as an athlete, I also want young people desiring to take to sport not to abandon their education because I was able to combine sport with education and I am now armed with a degree.”
The meeting was held at the Governor’s office in Ibadan, with the Secretary to Oyo State Government, Mrs Olubamiwo Adeosun; Special Assistant on sports to the governor, Oluwatobi Oyewunmi and Director (Sports Administration), Ministry of Youth and Sports, Mrs. Olubisi Adegoke, all in attendance.