To follow the footsteps of International Olympic Committee (IOC) and International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF), the Nigeria Table Tennis Federation (NTTF) is planning a befitting celebration for the first African to attend seven Olympic Games, Segun Toriola.According to the President of NTTF, Wahid Oshodi, it behooves on the federation to honour Toriola for his giant stride in the sport while there are plans to recommend the former African champion and others for national honours.
“The NTTF will definitely be celebrating the Legend with a series of activities in Nigeria. His achievements are so inspiring that we must find a way to say thank you to this great talented patriotic Nigerian.
“The IOC, the ITTF and the ATTF have led the way and we surely will ensure that we give him a befitting award. We are also hopeful that the Ministry of Youth and Sports will join us in this laudable quest. This will be done at a time to fit into his busy schedule.”
He added: “We shall also be making a fervent case for athletes like Toriola, Funke Oshonaike Bose Kaffo and Babatunde Obisanya alongside other remarkable athletes outside football and athletics be recognized when national honours are being awarded.”
Meanwhile, the federation is poised to build on the performance at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games as it has called up 20 players made up of 12 boys and eight girls for this year’s World Junior Championship holding later in the year in Cape Town, South Africa. The camping begins on Monday August 23 to September 3 at the National Training Centre of Lagos National Stadium.
Teenage sensations – Abayomi Animasahun and Tosin Oribamise top the list of invited players. Others are Azeez Solanke, Amadi Umeh, Michael Abayomi, Augustine Emmanuel, Jamiu Ayanwale, Ololade Oyenekan, Tobi Falana, Etim Orok, Babafemi Babatunde and Umar Ibrahim made up the boys’ list, while the girls are – Agnes Onoja, Ajoke Ojomu, Alimot Ayinla, Rofiat Jimoh and Sukurat Aiyelabegan.
The NTTF further said: “On his return to Nigeria from Rio, Toriola will lead a two week training session for the 20 junior players invited to camp for selecting the team that will represent Nigeria at the World Junior Table Tennis Championships holding in Cape Town, South Africa in November/December this year.”
Culled from THE NATION NEWSPAPER