by Simon Daish
The ceremony for Toriola’s award was hosted in Agadir during the 2016 ITTF-Africa Senior Championships, with the presentation of the plaque being carried out by the President of ITTF Africa: Khaled El-Salhy, and the President of the Morocco Table Tennis Federation and member of the ITTF Africa Executive Board: Monqid Hajji.
President El-Salhy announced that the decision to honour Toriola was down to the Nigerian player’s effort in putting Africa on the world map of Table Tennis with his seven appearances at the Olympic Games, “It was the decision of the Executive Council EC to give such an award to Segun Toriola, who is a legend of Table Tennis not only in Africa but also in the World following his great achievement of being the first African to make seven appearances at the Olympic Games from 1992 to 2016.”
El-Salhy went on to add, “We also we believe that he has the chance to break his own record by making it to Tokyo 2020, with the quality he still possesses.”
42-year-old Toriola held the title of being Africa’s top ranked player for ten consecutive years (1998-2008), also winning the Men’s Singles gold medal at the 2002 Commonwealth Games. El-Salhy believes that Toriola will serve as a role model for Africa’s younger generation:
“Toriola’s commitment to Table Tennis is 100 per cent and this is why he will remain an inspiration to young players in Africa. He is also an ambassador of Table Tennis when it comes to fair play. His excellent performance at every competition coupled with his humility are traits that single him out among other players in Africa” – Khaled El-Salhy (President of ITTF Africa).