The rapturous applause that attended his exit from the table tennis event of the Rio Olympics could have been mistaken for a victorious ovation. Nigeria’s legendary table tennis icon, Segun Toriola, exited the Rio Games but held his head high the way only legends do.
His conqueror in the men’s singles event of table tennis, Japan’s Niwa Koki, joined in acknowledging the star who raised his hands to return the sporadic applause.
Not long after his defeat, Toriola who made history by joining the elite stars’ club of players to have attended seven Olympics turned out to be the beautiful bride who is sought after by many countries to sign as their coach.
“Countries are queuing to see who will out-bid each other to land Toriola as coach’’, a very dependable source revealed yesterday.
Interestingly, too, Nigeria is also desirous of landing the history maker as their coach.
President of Nigeria Table Tennis Federation (NTTF), Wahid Enitan Oshodi said they’ve always been interested and would want to concretise the deal noting however that Toriola was still much fit to continue with his club functions.
“He’ll be an asset and has always been to our younger athletes. We’ll see how to make it even if it means living abroad and coaching from there as it were.
“The young man deserves all the accolades he gets. That is the result of discipline and hardwork. And honestly, they are the things lacking in our young players. They are in a hurry to ride expensive cars without working for it,’’ Oshodi bemoaned.
Just as the International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF) plan to honour Toriola’s historic seventh Olympic appearance, there are feelers that officials of Team Nigeria are also planning to roll out the red carpet to this eminent Nigerian Ping Ponger.