By Calista Jacob-Akpan
Africa’s queen of table tennis who is set to become the first female athlete to appear in the Olympics for a record 7th time when Tokyo 2020 Olympics gets underway, Olufunke Oshonaike, has hinted that she may quit soon.
Speaking ahead of the forthcoming Liebherr 2019 ITTF World Championships scheduled to commence in the Hungarian capital city of Budapest on Sunday 21st April, Olufunke Oshonaike said: “I think this might be my last World Championships, my aim is to play at the next Olympic Games in Japan where I will then call it quits.
“I must admit it will not be easy leaving a sport I have played for more than three decades. Table tennis has impacted my life positively and everything I have achieved in life, most of it has been through the sport.”
The veteran who is the only player to have won the women’s singles title at the African Senior Championships on three occasions spoke about her fond experience,
“My first outing was in Chiba, Japan in 1991 when I played alongside the great African player Atanda Musa. I was so young, a teenager, I have forgotten every moment.
She described her most cherished moment in the game as “appearing at the 2015 World Championships in China where I played against the eventual champion, Ding Ning, in the first round. It was my birthday and I enjoyed playing against the best player in the world. It was a rare experience that not every player will have but I played against Ding Ning which is one of the excitements of playing at the World Championship.”
In response to a question posed on expectations at the Liebherr 2019 World Championships: “I want to first of all qualify from the group and see what next I can do in the competition. The World Championships is a unique competition; it is unlike the Olympic Games and World Cup where only the best compete. So every moment in the competition is cherished and that is why it is the dream of every player to compete at the World Championships.”