by Olalekan Okusan, ITTF Africa, Press Officer
Segun Toriola won the Men’s Singles title at the 2002 Commonwealth Games staged in the English city of Manchester; the first time that table tennis had ever been included in the prestigious multi-sport gathering.
Now he is looking forward to competing in the 2018 Commonwealth Games to be held in Gold Coast, Australia from Wednesday 4th to Sunday 16th April.
“Just like Olympic Games and World Championship, the Commonwealth Games is a special tournament for every athlete particularly when it is a multi-sport competition.
The spirit at the Commonwealth Games is different because everybody is eager to make the podium, all eyes will be on star players. So for me it has been a special tournament because when I won the Men’s Singles at Manchester 2002, nobody expected me to win it. Also personally, I was not thinking of the title but when we started the tournament, I started to grow in confidence and this really helped to win.
With the quality of players in our team, like Quadri Aruna and Bode Abiodun, we have the chance to win medals in 2018. Quadri Aruna is one of the best in the world, while Bode Abiodun has been playing very well lately. I am sure that if they can continue with their present form, we will be a hard team to beat but we must get ourselves well prepared.
I am aware that India has been working hard in recent times while the English team is also in superb form having won bronze medal at the 2016 World Championships in Malaysia. The hosts, Australia, are not pushovers as well, they have quality players. I must say it is going to be explosive at the 2018 Commonwealth Games.
I have a strong memory of the Sydney Olympic and Melbourne Commonwealth Games. In terms of organization, Australia is among the best because every athlete is always looking forward to travelling to Australia despite being at the extreme of the world. I am looking forward to Gold Coast in 2018 particularly when it comes to organization of event. I cannot wait to be in Australia come April 2018.”