18 Sep 2018

The winner two years earlier when the tournament was staged in Agadir, Morocco; at the recent 2018 ITTF African Championships, which concluded in Mauritius on Sunday 9th September, there was be no repeat performance.

Nigeria’s Olufunke Oshonaike was beaten in the third round of the Women’s Singles event by Algeria’s Sannah Lagsir; the defeat coming after earlier in the tournament, alongside Offiong Edem and Janet Effiom, the silver medal in the Women’s Team event had been her lot.

by Olalekan Okusan, ITTF Africa Press Officer

Disappointed but equally determined and looking to the future, the goal is to compete in the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games; should she qualify she will be competing in the prestigious multi-sport event for the seventh time.

“I am looking forward to the 2019 African Games with the sole aim of qualifying for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games in Japan. If I qualify I will be on top of the world because it will be the last time I will play table tennis; after the Olympic Games I will throw in the towel. I am still good enough to play for few more years. I look younger than I am; that is what people say, age is nothing but a number. It will be a hard decision to retire but I hope I qualify for the Olympic Games in order to enter the “Seven Club”; then I can stop.” Olufunke Oshonaike

Experience in abundance; that was a feature of the Nigerian team in Mauritius but it was the young Egyptian outfit represented by Dina Meshref, Farah Abdel-Aziz and Yousra Helmy that proved their nemesis.

“I think we need new players in this team. The Egyptians are familiar with us, particularly our style of play. So we need to change something in this team, the introduction of new players; this will surely help us when we meet them next time in a competition,” she said.

Perhaps Esther Oribamise is a name to note for the future; notably, the name of the 16 year old appears on the entry list for the forthcoming Buenos Aires 2018 Youth Olympic Games. Could she make the difference?

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