Table Tennis: Oshonaike, Edem, Omotayo, Quadri Qualify For Tokyo 2020 Olympic
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By Amaechi Agbo
Nigerian Olympic icons, Funke Oshonaike, Offiong Edem, Aruna Quadri and Olajide Omotayo will fly the country at this year’s table tennis Olympic Games slated to hold in Tokyo Japan, Bestchoicesports.com.ng can report.
Nigeria table tennis legend, Funke Oshonaike, has made history as she qualified for her seventh Olympic Games, a feat no woman from Africa has ever achieved.
Oshonaike defeated Cameroon’s Sarah Hannfou 4-1 (12-10, 11-4, 4-11, 11-7, 11-6) in the deciding match to make it to the table tennis event of the Tokyo 2020 Olympics.
Oshonaike started her Olympics career at the Atlanta 1996 and since then she has been representing Nigeria at the flagship event.
The 44-year old has disclosed earlier that her performance is used to motivate and inspire the younger generation.
“I enjoyed every day I spent at the Games Village, it was an experience I will always cherish because it shows how the world should look like, everybody is the same. We share things and we unite in the Village. I look at that experience at what the world should look like. I am hoping that the power of sport will help to heal the wounds of the world.
“For me, I will be quitting but I want to use this my last experience to inspire and motivate young girls that you can achieve whatever you desire in life. You are the only one that can limit yourself in life,” Oshonaike said.
Oshonaike was 21 when she played her first match for Nigeria at the Olympics in 1996 in the doubles, partnering Bose Kaffo against Russia.
She then played North Korea’s Kim Hyon-Hui (singles).
“Olufunke Oshonaike has joined the 7th club of Olympians.
“The 45 year-old Nigerian has officially QUALIFIED for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics becoming the first ever African female athlete to do so on seven occasions in Table tennis or in any other sport,” ITT-Africa said of her feat
Also, fellow Nigerian, Offiong Edem, qualified for the Tokyo Olympics.
Edem and Oshonaike are expected to play their last match against Tunisia and Mauritius later but their two wins have secured their places in Tokyo.
Olajide Omotayo also will be making his debut in the quadrennial event in Japan. “It’s dream come true for Nigeria’s Olajide Omotayo after clinching an Olympic slot to debut at the forthcoming games in Tokyo” was how the International Table Tennis described Omotayo’s qualification on Friday.
Nigeria’s hope of having four of her stars paraded at the Tokyo Games suffered a blip when Africa’s number one ranked player Aruna Quadri was forced to withdraw from his last qualification match against Hman Adam due to a recurring thigh injury. However he booked a ticket to the Olympic Games after the ranking was released which placed him in good stead.
Thus Nigeria will represented by the quartet Funke Oshonaike, Offiong Edem, Aruna Quadri and Olajide Omotayo.