African table tennis players have been urged to take a cue from Segun Toriola’s discerning qualities if they are to be anywhere near the feat the Nigerian star has attained in the game.
Toriola who joined the elite Hall of Fame of athletes who have attended seven Olympic Games at Rio 2016, remains an ambassador of table tennis in the continent.
President of ITTF Africa, Khaled El-Salhy, recalled Toriola’s sterling qualities while presenting an award to the Nigerian at the 2016 ITTF Africa Senior Championships holding in Agadir, Morocco yesterday.
The Executive Council of ITTF Africa paid glowing tributes to Toriola for putting the continent’s table tennis on the world map as the first athlete in any sport in Africa to attain that height in the history of the Games.
The ITTF Africa boss revealed that the decision to honour Toriola was taken by the Executive Council of ITTF Africa for his giant stride in the world.
“It was the decision of the Executive Council to give such award to Segun Toriola, who is a legend of table tennis not only in Africa but also in the world following his great achievement of being the first African to make seven appearances at the Olympic Games from 1992 to 2016.
“We also we believe that he has the chance to break his own record by making it to Tokyo 2020 with the quality he still possesses,” El-Salhy observed with enthusiasm.
El-Salhy believes Toriola would serves as a role model for young players in Africa with his 100 per cent commitment to the sport on and off the table.
“Toriola commitment to table tennis is 100 per cent and this is why he will remain an inspiration to young players in Africa.
He is also an ambassador of table tennis when it comes to fair play. His excellent performance at every competition, couple with his humility, are traits that singled him out among other players in Africa,” ITTF Africa boss concluded.
Meanwhile, ITTF Africa has unveiled the list of qualified teams for the 2018 World Team Championships holding in Sweden.
In the men’s team list, Egypt and Nigeria qualified based on their performance at the Perfect 2016 World Team Championships held in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia in which they finished among the top 36 countries in the world.
Togo also secured its place after finishing second in the fourth division at the Perfect 2016 World Team Championship in Malaysia.
Others like Algeria, Congo Brazzaville, Tunisia, South Africa and Senegal qualified based on their results in the team event at the 2016 ITTF African Senior Championships.
However, in the list of qualified team for women, Nigeria was missing following the absence of its female team at the ITTF Africa Senior Championships, with Egypt also topping the list based on the performance of her female players at the Perfect 2016 World Team Championships in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia in which they finished among the top 36 countries in the world.
South Africa, Tunisia, Algeria, Congo Brazzaville and Morocco qualified based on their result in the team event of the 2016 ITTF African Senior Championships.