by Olalekan Okusan, Press Officer, ITTF African Table Tennis Federation
Both have impressed seven times Olympian, Segun Toriola, who recently conducted a training camp as preparation for the eight day tournament.
Notably, Rilwan Akanbi is the player in form. He won the Men’s Singles title at the recent 48th Asoju Oba Molade-Okaya Thomas Cup beating teammate Azeez Solanke in the final to claim his first major title.
“I understand that this is indeed a rare privilege for a player like me, who started playing the game few years ago, I hope I can use this chance to showcase my talents as well as to ensure that my place in the national team”, said Rilwan Akanbi who is well aware that the Sun International 2016 World Junior Championships is a major opportunity.
“It is my first outing for the country internationally and I want to ensure I do not disappoint my country”, he added. “Winning the Asoju Oba Cup has served as good preparation for me because in the last two weeks we have been playing competition; starting with the Nigerian National Championships and ending with the Asoju Oba Cup, it has put me in good frame of mind for the World Junior Championships.”
Similarly Tobi Falana, who competed earlier this year in the 2016 ITTF World Tour Premier Lotto Nigeria Open, is delighted to have been selected.
“I am indeed very happy that I was chosen out of the millions of players across the country; this is my first time to travel out of Nigeria and I will want to cherish every moment of this trip by making my inclusion count”, explained Tobi Falana. “Apart from that I hope. with the support and the technical input from one of Africa’s most successful table tennis players, Segun Toriola, we can make impact in South Africa.”
Tobi Falana believes the team is capable of doing well in Cape Town and may well surpass the efforts of the last time Nigeria competed in a World Junior Championships; they played in 2013 in Morocco.