by Simon Daish
Olufunke Oshonaike won her third Women’s Singles at a ITTF-Africa Senior Championships when she defeated Egypt’s Dina Meshref at the 2016 rendition of the tournament in October, and represented Nigeria at Rio 2016 earlier in the year.
Now as we begin to approach the conclusion of 2016 the Technical Director of the Nigeria Table Tennis Federation Anderson Bankole has praised Oshonaike for her tremendous showings throughout the year and has tasked the country’s other female players with emulating her success moving forward.
“Oshonaike is a household name not just in Nigeria but Africa as a whole. She is one respected female player that I want our other female athletes to emulate. She’s been long enough in the sport and has so much knowledge to enlighten the younger players. She has been actively involved in Table Tennis for no less than 25 years and that’s a commendable achievement” – Anderson Bankole.
The Africa Senior Championships title victory in Agadir, Morroco towards the back end of October 2016 marked 14 years since Olufunke Oshonaike achieved her previous success in the category in the 2002 edition of the competition and comes 24 years after she picked up her first Women’s Singles trophy at the 1992 Championships.
Anderson Bankole wants to see new players begin to step up and match Olufunke Oshinaike’s sporting level in the near future, “Oshonaike has what it takes to mentor the present crop of young female players” said Bankole. “She has been through it all and is well equipped with knowledge and experience.”
“Our set of female players are not like Oshonaike. They need to be more committed so as to make a name in the sport. If we follow Oshonaike’s record from the age of 16 when she ventured into the sport, you will know that she had been a shining light and is still” – Anderson Bankole.