Breaking News: ITTF inducts Olufunke Oshonaike into ‘Club 7’

Olufunke Oshonaike - Member of Olympic Club 7

ITTF inducts Olufunke Oshonaike into ‘Club 7’

Former African champion Olufunke Oshonaike has been inducted by the International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF) into the exclusive club of seven-time Olympians known as the ‘Club 7’.

Oshonaike who is the first table tennis player in the world and the first female athlete in Africa to attend seven Olympic Games becomes the first female to be inducted into the 7th Club.

At a brief ceremony held in Tokyo on Monday, July 26 and attended by the President of ITTF Thomas Weikert as well as former inductees – Jörgen Persson of Sweden (1988 to 2012), Zoran Primorac of Croatia, and the former Yugoslavia (1988 to 2012), Belgium’s Jean-Michel Saive (1988 to 2012) and Segun Toriola (1992 – 2016).

Across the globe, only four male table tennis players in the world have been inducted since table tennis became an Olympic sport at Seoul ‘88 Olympic Games in South Korea and Oshonaike increased the number to five being the first female player in the world.

Toriola made his Olympic debut at the Barcelona ‘92 Olympic Games, while Oshonaike made her Olympic Games debut at the Atlanta ‘96 Games in the United States.

An excited Oshonaike hoped the honor would give hope to young Nigerians that dreams can come through.

“I hope this award for me and my country, as the only female in the seventh club in the world, and the only woman in Africa to have achieved the dream of representing her country at the Olympics seven times, will brighten the hearts of Nigerians especially for young girls that dreams can come through regardless of the challenges in life,” she said.

She added: Though I might not have won gold, silver, or bronze, I have won what no woman in the world of table tennis has ever won. Thank God for the award – the 7 Club award. I’m a proud Nigerian and I hope more women will join me.”

Oshonaike bowed out in the preliminary round of the women’s singles after losing to Liu Juan of the United States, while she, however, ruled herself out from Paris 2024 in France.

Source: Nigeria Table Tennis  Association

Quadri Aruna

Aruna makes top 15 in seeding list of table tennis

Quadri Aruna
Aruna Quadri - Olympic Qualifier

Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games: Aruna makes top 15 in seeding list of table tennis

Team Nigeria Captain Quadri Aruna has been listed among the top 15 seeded players in the men’s singles of table tennis event at the rescheduled Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games which kicks on Friday, July 23 in Japan.

Being the highest-rated African in the world, Aruna has been seeded number 15 behind Frenchman Simon Gauzy seeded 14 among the 65 players competing in the men’s singles.

The Nigerian who was considered as one of the star players to watch out for in table tennis by Reuters is hoping to exceed his quarterfinal finish at Rio 2016 in Japan.

Qualified to Tokyo based on his world rating, Aruna will be awaiting his first-round opponent when the draws hold this week with Egypt’s Omar Assar seeded 28 while Aruna’s compatriot- Olajide Omotayo is seeded 49 in the men’s singles.

In the women’s singles, six-time African women champion Egypt’s Dina Meshref has been seeded 19th while Nigeria’s Offiong Edem is seeded 53 among the 70 athletes competing in the women’s singles event.

Seven-time Olympian Olufunke Oshonaike is 60th.

Meanwhile, China’s Fan Zhendong and Chen Meng have been unveiled as the top-seeded entries for the men’s and women’s singles categories.

Making his first appearance on the Olympic stage in Tokyo, Fan Zhendong, 24, is bidding to become the sixth Chinese player to take home men’s singles gold.

Meanwhile, fellow Fan’s compatriot and defending champion Ma Long, who has been named as the number two seed, attempts to recapture the magic of five years ago as he defends his highly sought-after title at the Tokyo Metropolitan Gymnasium.

Seeded third, 18-year-old Tomokazu Harimoto is bound to catch the eye as the ever-improving teenager looks to guide Japan to a historic first gold medal in the category.

Also, Brazil’s Hugo Calderano and Chinese Taipei’s Lin Yun-Ju have been named the fourth and fifth seeds in the men’s singles draw, ahead of Sweden’s Mattias Falck, London 2012 bronze medallist Dimitrij Ovtcharov and fellow German icon Timo Boll.

A new women’s singles champion will be crowned in the Japanese capital with all eyes firmly fixed on two Chinese debutants as the country looks to make it nine gold medals in a row.

Making the summit of the list, top seed Chen Meng leads the way with Sun Yingsha occupying the immediate position below on the list.

China also leads the way in both the Men’s Team and Women’s Team events with the sporting powerhouse pursuing a fourth-straight gold medal finish in both categories.

Source: Nigeria Table Tennis  Association

Olajide Omotayo

I want to play my best table tennis in Tokyo- Omotayo

Olajide Omotayo
Olajide Omotayo - 2019 African Games African Champion

I want to play my best table tennis in Tokyo- Omotayo

Olajide Omotayo will be making his debut at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games; he is eager to establish himself as one of Africa’s best representatives among the array of stars in Japan.

The Lagos State-born athlete believes knowing his first-round opponent would help him to know his fate in Tokyo.

He, however, said he is excited about being part of Team Nigeria to Tokyo. “I feel happy and at the same very proud of myself for qualifying for my first Olympic Games because I have always wanted to achieve this dream as only God made it possible.

“My winning the African Games gold in 2019 has really boosted my confidence going into the Olympic Games. The win made me realize that the impossible is nothing as nobody saw the performance coming but I knew within me that I am capable of defeating any player in Africa. All I needed was to play freely without thinking about the podium. I did that, it really worked for me in the end.

“My target is to go to Tokyo and play at my best because I know if I play at my best, good results will follow. The advantage of the postponement is that it has afforded me more time to train and work hard for the games,” Omotayo said.

Source: Nigeria Table Tennis  Association

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Olajide Omotayo

Breaking News: Olajide Omotayo joins French Premier League team

Olajide Omotayo
Olajide Omotayo - 2019 African Games African Champion

Olajide Omotayo joins French Premier League team 

After playing for more than six years in the Italian Table Tennis Super League, 2019 African Games champion Olajide Omotayo has signed a one-year deal to join a French Pro A team, PPC Villeneuve, for 2021/2022 season.

Announcing the signing of the 26-year-old Nigerian on its social media handle at the weekend, the club described Omotayo as a fighter who they hope would help the team to fight for the top spot in the elite French league.

The club wrote, “Olajide Omotayo from Nigeria, 26 and ranked 92 in the world will be a formidable opponent for our competitors. Little known in France, it will be interesting to follow and his fight spirit will be a quality appreciated by the public in France.”

Omotayo will be joined by other members of the team which include French junior international Jules Cavaillé and experienced Russian star Alexey Liventsov while the team will be coached by Admir Duranspahic, who replaced departing coach Lepage Cedric.

An excited Omotayo who last played for TT Genova in Italy before the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020 has described the move to France as a dream come true for him.

“This is a big move for me having played in Italy for over six years. Now I will have the chance to play against some of the best players as well as improve my game. It is the dream of every player to play in the top league in Europe and France is among the top three leagues in the world, I cannot wait to start playing because I know my game will improve and I will also have the opportunity to be exposed to top-class coaching in a good club,” he said.

The 2012 National Sports Festival gold medalist expressed appreciation to the management of PPC Villeneuve for the confidence to sign him and he promises to repay their trust with good performance in the league.

Omotayo is warming up for his maiden outing at Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games and he will join Egypt’s Omar Assar who also plies his trade in the French top league.

Source: Nigeria Table Tennis  Association

Breaking News: Taiwo Mati gets ITTF Scholarship

Mati Tiawo - U 21 Champion

Taiwo Mati gets ITTF Scholarship

Nigeria’s national U-21 champion Taiwo Mati has been listed among the awardees of the 2021 With The Future In Mind (WFIM) scholarship by the International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF).

Mati who has been consistent with his performance in recent times was among the 13 players under the Prominent Youth Players category by the world table tennis ruling body.

The African cadet champion is one of the two African players listed alongside Egypt’s Hana Goda who is the world’s number one U-15 player (girl).

According to the statement issued by ITTF at the weekend, WIFM has been a core component of the Athletes Development Model since its inception, targeting prospects from all over the world in the pursuit of their Olympic Dream.

“Following the adoption of the new ITTF Strategic Plan in 2018, support was expanded to a group of athletes from established markets with the aim of further globalizing competitiveness within our sport, an approach that is reflected in and continued for this year’s supported athletes.

The scholarship according to ITTF High-Performance Elite Coach Massimo Costantini, The support is intended as an additional source from their existing planning with national teams and clubs commitments among others, so they (athletes) can use the scholarship for strengthening overall preparation by participating in specific training camps and competitions.

With the postponed Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games around the corner, WFIM scholarship is a joint program of Olympic Solidarity and the ITTF, while the support has also been extended for some of the qualified athletes for Tokyo 2020 in special consideration by Olympic Solidarity and topped up by ITTF High Performance & Development. 

Already, three Tokyo-bound African stars – Ibrahima Diaw of Senegal, Egypt’s Yousra Helmy, and Tunisia’s Fadwa Garci are among the 17 athletes selected across the world for the gesture.

For Mati and 12 other youth players, the target of ITTF is to support the athletes for their qualification for the Dakar 2022 Youth Olympic Games with the aim to qualify for their first taste of the Olympic spirit.

The Chairman, Caretaker Committee of the Nigeria Table Tennis Federation (NTTF) Ishaku Tikon described Mati’s election among the best in the world as a plus for Nigeria, adding that the efforts of the federation have continued to yield positively for the world body to identify the Nigerian star.

“I am so excited with this development and this goes to show that the federation has been working hard to give young players the opportunity to showcase their talents to the world. I am aware that ITTF has been monitoring what we are doing in Nigeria and Mati’s consistency has paid off for him. My advice to other players is that they should also emulate Mati and work harder to get noticed globally and enjoy the chance to compete and train with the best in the world under the WFIM Scholarship scheme of ITTF,” Tikon said.

Source: Nigeria Table Tennis  Association

Bello dominance ends as Mati, Odusanya claim titles

Lagos Top 16 Invitational Challenge: Bello dominance ends as Mati, Odusanya claim titles

 
Bose Odusanya - Lagos Top 16 Invitational Challenge: Champion

The dominance of Fatimo Bello of G20 in the women’s singles came to an end at the Lagos Top Invitational Table Tennis Challenge as Ondo’s Taiwo Mati and Lagos’ Bose Odusanya claimed the titles at the one-day tournament held at Molade Okoya-Thomas Hall of Teslim Balogun Stadium.

Bello, winner of the last national tournaments – 20th National Sports Festival, Aso Cup, and National Championships was dazed in the semifinal of the women’s singles by Kwara’s Bisola Asaju while her arch-rival Lagos’ Odusanya finally cuddled a trophy having lost the last two national tournaments to Bello in recent times.

Mati Taiwo - Lagos Top 16 Invitational Challenge: Champion

Bayelsa’s Samuel Boboye was the surprise star of the tournament as the 15-year-old waltzed his way to the final having taken down some of the top players on his way to the final against Mati.

The men’s singles final had all the elements of a world-class display by the players with Mati playing with a lot of caution against Boboye who had earlier in the day beaten the national U-21 champion in the group stage.

Despite starting well in the final, Boboye could not re-enact his earlier performance against Mati, and in less than an hour, he bowed the superiority of Mati at 4-2 (13-11, 8-11, 7-11, 11-13, 11-7. 1-11).

In the women’s singles, Odusanya became the champion after beating Asaju 4-2 (11-5, 8-11, 11-4, 3-11, 11-5, 11-6).

An elated Odusanya described the victory as a reward for her hardwork which has always been thwarted by Bello in the last two tournaments while hoping to remain on top of her game in subsequent tournaments.

The one-day N1.2m prize money tournament was sponsored by the Director-General, Lagos State Sports Commission (LSSC) Gafar Bolowotan under the umbrella of Renewed Hope, Lagos.

Bolowotan who was impressed with the organization coupled with the display by the players said the commission would continue to support such a tournament which has continued to attract the best players in the country. He however lauded the Nigeria Table Tennis Federation (NTTF) for their ingenuity in putting the tournament together.

 

SOURCE :

Nigeria Table Tennis Federation

Quadri Aruna

Breaking News: ITTF confirms Aruna’s qualification for Tokyo 2020

Quadri Aruna
Aruna Quadri - Olympic Qualifier

ITTF confirms Aruna’s qualification for Tokyo 2020

The International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF) on Tuesday, June 1, confirmed the eventual qualification of Nigeria’s Quadri Aruna for the rescheduled Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games in Japan.

According to a letter addressed to the President of the Nigeria Olympic Committee (NOC) and President of the Nigeria Table Tennis Federation (NTTF) and singed by ITTF Competition Director Gabor Felegyi, Aruna who is the first African in the history of the Olympic Games to make it to the quarter-final stage of the singles event is expected to join 85 others across the globe to compete in the men’s singles event at Tokyo Olympic Games next month.

“It is with great pleasure, I advise the qualification of Quadri Aruna to compete in the table tennis Men’s Singles event at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games, on the basis of World Ranking allocation according to the June 2021 ITTF Olympic Qualification Ranking,” Felegyi stated.

He, however, stated that NOC is expected to confirm Aruna’s participation on or before June 16.

With this development, Aruna will be making his third appearance at the Olympic Games having featured in London 2012 and Rio 2016 and he will join his compatriots – Olajide Omotayo, Olufunke Oshonaike, and Edem Offiong to compete in the singles event in Tokyo.

It was at Rio 2016 in Brazil that Aruna stunned the world with his performance as the first African to reach the quarterfinal after edging out some of the best players in the world including former world number one, Timo Boll of Germany before losing to the eventual winner, Ma Long of China in the quarterfinal.

An excited Chairman of the Caretaker Committee of NTTF, Ishaku Tikon said he has been proved right with the confirmation by ITTF as the exploits of Aruna in the last two years were enough to secure a place for him in Tokyo.

“When Aruna got injured during the African Qualifying tournament in Tunis last year, I told the world that he will make it to Tokyo as he is ranked among the top 10 in the Olympic ranking. Despite the setback in Tunisia, Aruna did not relent in his performance and for me, I am so excited as a Nigerian because his qualification will surely motivate others to look up to him and aim for the best in Tokyo,” Tikon said.

Already 64 players have so far been confirmed for the men’s singles event while the remaining six slots are expected to be allocated as wildcards.

Source: Nigeria Table Tennis  Association

Breaking News: Bello, others set for Lagos Top 16Invitational Challenge

Bello, Odusanya to renew rivalry at Lagos Top 16 Invitational Challenge

 
Bose Odusanya - 2020 Osoju Oba Cup Champion

Two of the best female table tennis players in the country Fatimo Bello of G20 and Bose Odusanya of Lagos will continue their rivalry at the Lagos Top 16 Invitational Challenge scheduled for June 12 at the Molade Okoya-Thomas Hall of Teslim Balogun Stadium.

The tournament is organised by Lagos State Sports Commission (LSSC), with the aim to sustain the momentum generated at just concluded 2021 Nigeria Table Tennis Federation (NTTF) National Championships as the best 32 players (16 men and 16 women) across the country will converge for the one-day tournament.

Fatima Bello
Fatima Bello - 20th National Sports Festival in Edo Champion (Olympic Qualifier)

Bello who has been unbeaten this year in all competitions having won the 20th National Sports Festival in Edo, Aso Cup Championship in Abuja and the NTTF National Championships in Lagos will be aiming to continue her dominance against Odusanya who is the only player to have beaten Bello in the team event of the National Championships.

Mati Taiwo - Second Place National Championships

Having put the disappointment of the National Championships behind them, Taiwo Mati of Ondo and Azeez Solanke of G20 will be aiming to avenge their final and semifinal lost to Rilwan Akanbi at the N1.2m prize money tournament sponsored by Renewed Hope, Lagos with technical support from the Lagos State Table Tennis Association (LSTTA).

Among the stars listed for the championships endorsed by NTTF include 2020 National Sports Festival Champion, Amadi Omeh of Ondo State as well as David Fayele of Lagos.

Also on the list of invited players is the 2021 World Table Tennis (WTT) Youth Star Contender silver medalist Usman Okanlawon as well as national cadet champions Samuel Boboye of Bayelsa and Hope Uduaka of Cross River.

According to the tournament prospectus, the invited players will go through three stages to emerge as champions as they are expected to be drawn into groups with the two top players advancing to the second stage.

The second stage will involve the eight qualifiers from the first stage who will be drawn into two groups in round-robin matches with two advancing to the semifinal stage.

 

SOURCE :

Nigeria Table Tennis Federation

Breaking News: Oshodi’s election is a big addition to ATTF, says El-Salhy

Wahid Oshodi - Deputy ATTF President

Oshodi’s election is a big addition to ATTF, says El-Salhy

The President of the African Table Tennis Federation (ATTF) Khaled El-Salhy has described the election of Nigeria’s Wahid Enitan Oshodi as the Deputy President of the continental body as a big addition to the top echelon of table tennis in Africa.

El-Salhy who was elected for a third in office as president of ATTF at the 2021 virtual General Assembly of the federation at the weekend said the addition of new faces to the Executive Council would surely bring vibrancy to the administration of table tennis in the continent.

“For sure the election of Wahid Enitan Oshodi is a big addition to ATTF. He is full of energy and experience to unify Africa and to support all the African members in the ITTF Committees, Commissions, and assignments as his performance in the previous period as the Chairman of ITTF Nomination Committee,” the ATTF boss said.

“Luckily the new EC faces of the ATTF team are representing the bright future of the African Table Tennis in the coming years. They including Oshodi all did a remarkable job in their various national associations as well at the regional level as well as their involvement in ITTF Committees. I think they all have the full trust of the delegates as displayed during their unanimous election at the General Assembly,” El-Salhy added.

For the ATTF chief, his main priority was to increase the number of top African players in the world. “My priority remains to help all African member associations and players in terms of promotion regardless of the challenges.

“Also I want to increase the number of top African players among ITTF World Ranking in all categories, and to secure hosting more WTT & World Title events in Africa.”

On his immediate targets, he said: “I want to build up a very good calendar for the coming years after such a long suspension due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Also to have a good follow-up to our qualifiers from Africa to 2020 Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games within their final preparations and participation.”

Source: Nigeria Table Tennis  Association