By Paul Osborne

The NTTF will sign an agreement with the ITTF this week to confirm the hosting of the Lagos World Tour in June 2014 ©Getty ImagesJanuary 5 - After granting Nigeria the rights to host the 2014 African Top 16 Cup in Lagos, the International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF) has again chosen the African nation as a suitable host for international events by listing the Lagos International Classic in its 2014 World Tour calendar.

The Nigeria Table Tennis Federation (NTTF) will confirm the agreement this week when a delegation travels to the ITTF World Tour Grand Finals in Dubai, with all countries hosting an event on the 2014 World Tour expected to be present.

The NTTF will be led by its President, Wahid Oshodi while officials of the African Table Tennis Federation (ATTF) led by its chief, Khaled El-Salhy and its vice-president, Olabanji Oladapo will also be in attendance to witness the agreement signing.

"I want to say this is the final step at confirming that any nation is hosting the World Tour," said El-Salhy.

"The tour is one of the qualification avenues for players to qualify to play in the World Tour Finals.

"So it is necessary that the presence of NTTF especially its president is required at the sign ceremony holding this week in Dubai.

"We as executive of ATTF will also be present at the event and we are hoping that this will open more opportunities for Nigeria."

The World Tour event is due to be held in Lagos on June 23 until 26 with the African Cup following on June 27 and 28.

Since taking the mantle at the helm of Nigerian table tennis, President Oshodi, who is also a serving Commissioner for Youth, Sports and Social Development in the commercial State of Lagos, has breathed new life into the sport in Nigeria, sealing the inaugural Lagos Classic last August  - the country's first international competition since 1991 - as well setting up a host of national competitions in a hope of reviving the game throughout the nation.

NTTF President Oshodi is hoping to revive table tennis across Nigeria and believes bringing international competition to the country will give Nigerian players the best opportunity to improve ©Getty ImagesNTTF President Oshodi is hoping to revive table tennis across Nigeria and believes bringing international competition to the country will give players the best opportunity to improve
©Getty Images

"The first Lagos Classics had opened the door for so many opportunities to Nigeria and like someone said to me that they thought that Nigeria was dead in terms of table tennis and that with the staging of the Lagos Classics, he was shocked at the way things are going," said ATTF boss El-Salhy.

"In fact, with the speed that we came out, it was as if we are waiting for this.

"That is exactly the way I want to define it that even up to the president of the ITTF, Adam Sharara, his comments, writings, and discussions has been encouraging.

"He said the fire is back in Nigeria and I am sure with the leadership, cooperation and advise of all of us, things will get better.

"ITTF sees Nigeria now as a flying country in terms of table tennis."

The World Tour in Lagos will join 20 other events set across the globe as the ITTF continues to expand the sport on the international stage.

Each Tour event will give players the opportunity to compete for vital ranking points with an ultimate goal of qualifying for the season-ending World Tour Grand Finals.

The events are split into three categories dependant on their status within the circuit with Super series the highest tier, followed by Major series and finally Challenger series.

The higher the tier, the more prize money and ranking points will be on offer.

As a new addition to the Tour the Lagos Classic will enter as a Challenger tier event with the likes of Australia, Philippines, Chile and Argentina also joining the tier for the 2014 season.

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