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Oshonaike targets 2020 Olympics qualification, to quit Table Tennis afterwards

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Olufunke OSHONAIKE

Nigeria’s Olufunke Oshonaike is looking to quit Table Tennis on a high note by fulfilling her dream of participating at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games in Japan.

The 43-year-old, who made her Olympics debut at the Atlanta 1996 in United States, has represented Nigeria at six Olympic Games, and is poised to end her professional career ‘on top of the world’ in 2 years’ time.

Her qualification for the competition will be dependent on her performance in the 2019 African Games, and if she makes it to Tokyo, she will be setting a record as the first African female athlete to attend seven Olympic Games

The Germany-based former African champion was beaten in the round of 16 of the women’s singles at the 2018 ITTF African Championships in Mauritius, but insists it is not time to give up on the sport.

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“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 that will be the last time I will play table tennis and after the Olympic Games I will throw in the towel,” she told NTTF media.

“I feel very sad because I lost in the singles but I am still good to play for few years. I look younger that what people say because age is nothing but a number. It will be decision to retire but I hope I qualify for the Olympic Games in order to enter the ‘Seventh Club’. After then I can quit.”

The Nigeria women’s team also lost in the Mauritius final to Egypt, but Oshonaike said the team gave their best against the youthful Egyptians, adding that she hopes that younger players come through to the team in near future.

“I think we need new players in this team. The Egyptians are familiar with some of us particularly our style of play. So we need to change something in this team with the introduction of new players and this will surely help us whenever we need them again in any competition,” she said.

 

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