by Olalekan Okusan, ITTF-Africa Press Officer
However, for the 43 year old, it is not the end of her career; there is a major goal. The aim is to compete next year in Tokyo, in what would be no less than her sixth Olympic Games.
“I think this might be my last World Championships, my aim is to play at the next Olympic Games in Japan where I will then call it quits. I must admit it will not be easy leaving a sport I have played for more than three decades. Table tennis has impacted my life positively and everything I have achieved in life, most of it has been through the sport.” Olufunke Oshonaike
Most certainly Olufunke Oshonaike rates amongst the best African players of all time; alongside Ghana’s Ethel Jacks and her Nigerian compatriot, Bose Kaffo, she is the only player to have won the women’s singles title at the African Senior Championships on three occasions.
“My first outing was in Chiba, Japan in 1991 when I played alongside the great African player Atanda Musa. I was so young, a teenager, I have forgotten every moment. My cherished moment was at the 2015 World Championships in China where I played against the eventual champion, Ding Ning, in the first round. It was my birthday and I enjoyed playing against the best player in the world. It was a rare experience that not every player will have but I played against Ding Ning which is one of the excitements of playing at the World Championship.” Olufunke Oshonaike
Perhaps another chance to meet such an illustrious player may await in Budapest but before that can happen there is a hurdle to negotiate.
“I want first of all to qualify from the group and see what next I can do in the competition. The World Championships is a unique competition; it is unlike the Olympic Games and World Cup where only the best compete. So every moment in the competition is cherished and that is why it is the dream of every player to compete at the World Championships.” Olufunke Oshonaike
On the Women’s World Rankings issued for March, Olufunke Oshonaike stands at no.135.