by Olalekan Okusan, ITTF-Africa Press Officer
Four places in each of the men’s singles and women’s singles events plus one mixed doubles position at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games are the prizes on offer.
Present and aiming for a record eighth Olympic Games appearance in Nigeria’s Segun Toriola.
“When I went to my first Olympic Games in Barcelona 1992, I was a teenager and I did not really appreciate it then because I was young. However, the experience I will not forget in a hurry because it allows you to meet top athletes in various sports across the world. The atmosphere of the Games Village was awesome and it is an encounter I cherish throughout my life. The Olympic Games is unique event for every athlete.” Segun Toriola
Aiming for number seven
Similarly, Olufunke Oshonaike is also aiming to become the first female table tennis player to attend seven Olympic Games, the former African champion described her first experience in Atlanta 1996 as a life-changing encounter that crossed barriers.
“I enjoyed every day I spent at the Games Village, it was an experience I will always cherish because it shows how the world should look like, everybody is the same. We share things and we unite in the Village. I look at that experience at what the world should look like. I am hoping that the power of sport will help to heal the wounds of the world. For me I will be quitting but I want to use this my last experience to inspire and motivate young girls that you can achieve whatever you desire in life. You are the only one that can limit yourself in life,” Oshonaike said.
The Olympic Games, a special event, it was the same reaction from Tunisia’s Fadwa Garci at the press conference staged at the El Mouradi Garmath Hotel.
“It was my dream two years ago and I am still pursuing that dream. I hope I can make it from this tournament.” Fadwa Garci
Equally, 2010 Youth Olympic Games bronze medallist, Adam Hmam was excited at prospect of a journey to Tokyo in July.
“Having featured at the Youth Olympic Games, I have been looking for this kind of opportunity to be part of the main Olympic Games. I cannot afford to miss this chance and that is why I will give my best in this qualifiers to be able to be in Japan.” Adam Hmam