ITTF Set to Honour Toriola Friday

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For his exploits in the continent as well as being the first African in any sport to compete in seven Olympic Games, the International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF) will on Friday August 12 at the Riocentro Pavilion 3 in Rio.

According to ITTF Promotion and Media Manager, Matthew Pound, Toriola will be joined in the celebration by three other table tennis stars that have competed in seven Olympic Games – Croatia’s Zoran Primorac, Sweden’s Jörgen Persson and Belgium’s Jean-Michel Saive.

Unlike Toriola who made his debut at the 1992 Barcelona Olympic Games, while the European trio debuted at the 1988 Moscow Olympic Games when table tennis became a medal hauling event at the Olympic Games.

The ITTF spokesman also confirmed that the President of ITTF, Thomas Weikert will make a presentation to Toriola while they will have a photo session with top officials of the world table tennis ruling body as well as some top players.

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) had earlier described Toriola as Africa’s most successful table tennis player of all-time as the most decorated table tennis star; Toriola has won 14 gold medals at the African Games from 1995 to 2015; two gold medals at Commonwealth Games as well as eight gold medals at the African Championships.

For 10 years (1998 to 2008), Toriola is ranked number one in Africa, and he is renowned for his unusual style of forehand play, which makes him an awkward opponent for many opponents. Despite lacking good footwork, he has an excellent topspin, which has allowed him to pull off many upsets with top world players.

At the Rio 2016 Olympic Games where he made his seventh appearance at the games, he caused an upset in his first round tie against Czech Republic’s Dmitrij Prokopcov. Toriola was ranked 120 in the world while Czech is rated 79 but the former African champion prevailed over the European 4-2 to advance to the second round where he was defeated 4-2 by world’s number 22, Japan’s Niwa Koki.