Mr Cui Jianchun, Ambassador of China to Nigeria, has stressed the need for his country and Nigeria to harness sporting activities, to deepen diplomatic relations between the two countries.
Cui spoke while briefing journalists on Saturday in Abuja on the sidelines of the 4th edition of the Nigeria-China Ping-Pong tournament, organised for journalists by the China Cultural Centre in Abuja.
Cui said, “Nigeria leads in football in Africa and we have a great distance to catch up with Nigeria football, and we are thinking of bringing Nigeria football team to China, we can do things together.
“I am working on this agenda, because there is need for the two countries, to try to use sports as a way to deepen relations between them.
“I also have lots of plans for next year after COVID-19; I believe that lots of Journalists will like to go to China, because seeing is believing.
“China has now really achieved a lot. We have lots of challenges, but I believe that if you go to China you will see China and I think that is beneficial to Nigerians.
“We can use table tennis to build friendship between the two nations. It is very important and I think it special for young people to make friends, share ideas and exchange thoughts.”
He disclosed that the Chinese embassy plans to create opportunities for Journalists to go to China and encourage Chinese people to come to Nigeria for nationals of both countries learn from each other.
More so, Cui said, although the tournament could not hold in 2020 due to COVID-19 pandemic, China is putting-up measures to support Nigeria, to ensure that normalcy is restored, saying “Chinese central government has decided to donate Chinese vaccine to Nigeria.
“Firstly, batch of 500,000 dosages will be delivered to Nigeria before the end of this year and millions of dosages could be provided by the Chinese government, so we await your government’s response.
“We have 40 countries that use Chinese vaccines, donated by China, so on the Nigerian side, I have not received any response from your government.
“I hope by the end of this year we can provide a million dosages to Nigeria and this is very important,” he added.
Also speaking, Mr Emmanuel Ogbeche, Chairman of Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), FCT Chapter, thanked the Embassy of China and promised to work closely with the mission to sustain the feat.
According to Ogbeche, the support derived from the mission and its Cultural Centre has gone a long way to promote the well being of members of the Union and to physically keep fit.
In a separate interview, the overall winner of the tournament in the men’s singles category, Tiennabeso Bibiye, a staff of AIT, expressed appreciation to the management of Daar Communications for its support.
According to him, the management provided the enabling environment for its staff to prepare adequately for the tournament.
“I came into this competition with some level of confidence, because I am a regular table tennis player, that is what I do, it is a passion for me, it is something I do to keep fit.
“But, I never knew I was going to meet stiff opponent in today’s game.
Equally, the overall Winner of Women’s singles category, Hannah Onoja, also a staff of AIT, attributed her success to adequate preparations.
“I really trained hard for this game, knowing fully well of what is ahead for me, I trained under the sun and rain just for this particular tournament.
“So, I am not surprised at my performance, I have been playing since the past three weeks,” Onoja said.
Meanwhile, Adetokumbo Adesanya of the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) emerged second, and Denis Ade of NTA, and Ibrahim Shuibu of FRCN are joint third.
Also, Chioma Anajor of Correspondence, emerged second in the women’s category, while Xhang Lixue of China Cultural Centre and Shittu Isiti of NTA took the third position.
The event, hosted by the Embassy of China in Nigeria and NUJ, attracted 64 male players, 16 female players and 8 pairs of double players in the tournament.
The Ambassador promised to donate a standard Table Tennis board to the NUJ. (NAN)