03 Jan 2017

Nigeria saw a couple of standout moments from their table tennis players in 2016 with Quadri Aruna and Segun Toriola making the headlines at Rio 2016 and Olufunke Oshonaike claiming the Women's Singles title at the 2016 ITTF Africa Senior Championships in Agadir, Morocco.

President of the Nigerian Table Tennis Federation Wahid Oshodi believes that more of the country's players can go on to emulate the likes of Aruna with extra funding.

by Simon Daish

President Wahid Oshodi highlighted the importance in developing Nigeria’s youth players moving forward and is hopeful that the coaching plans for the year ahead will help to further the skills of the country’s younger players.

“These plans will give our coaches the opportunity to further develop their knowledge so that they can better harness the skills of our young players and finding the resources to expose our best players to life on the professional tour at both junior and senior levels, funding is the key to all of these” – Wahid Oshodi.

Another important target for President Oshodi is to see some of Nigeria’s key competitors from the past gain more recognition for their efforts and Oshodi believes it is a key aspect to help inspire more of Nigeria’s youth to take up the sport:

“This is where the Ministry of Sports should take the lead” said President Oshodi before going to to add, “There are great athletes, who have served this country meritoriously and deserve honours. We in the Federation will continue to play our part by honouring them through naming awards after them. This we will do to inspire the young players and assure them that their contributions will always be remembered.”

The 2016 Olympic Games saw a heroic performance from Quadri Aruna who defied the odds with victories over the likes of Chinese Taipei’s Chuang Chih-Yuan and Germany’s Timo Boll before going on to seal a quarter-finals finish, and President Oshodi has called for more of his country’s athletes to step up and use the achievements of Aruna as a target to beat in the future but admits that more funding is necessary for success.

“I don’t want to start listing the gains but my joy and happiness comes from the fact that we have been able to raise the profile of the sport and that we can boast of world class players. We intend to do more but this also depends on the availability of funds. Funding is a major challenge because apart from organising tournaments at local level, these players must also be exposed internationally and that is why the fund is very vital…

…We have a lot of players with the quality of Quadri (Aruna) in the country and they just need to instill more hard work and dedication in their game… We just need to continue to work hard and expose our players to the latest techniques at a much younger age. We need to find the funding to take the players on the junior and senior pro tours where they can test themselves against the best in the world” – Wahid Oshodi.

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