Table Tennis: Oshonaike sets African record, qualifies for seventh Olympics

Funke-Oshonaike (Photo: vanguard News)

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).

Oshonaike turns 45 this year.

Also, fellow Nigerian, Offiong Edem, has also 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.

Aruna Quadri and Olajide Omotayo are also in the hunt for Olympic slots in Tunisia.


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