Table tennis players need technical back-up to excel at Rio, says Obisanya
FORMER National Table Tennis coach, Babatunde Obisanya, has described the recent success by the country’s table tennis stars, Aruna Quadri, Segun Toriola and Offiong Edem as a sign of good things to come.
Recently, Quadri defeated Egypt’s Omar Assar 4-1 in the final of the International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF) Africa Top 16 in Khartoum, Sudan, to secure his second appearance at the World Cup, while both Toriola and Edem secured qualifications for Rio Olympics.
They defeated Togo’s Mawussi Agbetoglo 4-0 and Algeria’s Lynda Loghraibi 4-0 in the men’s and women’s categories respectively. Quadri and Oshonaike had earlier qualified for the Olympics during the last All African Games in Congo Brazzaville.
Speaking with The Guardian, Obisanya said the exploit of the players was good for Nigerian table tennis. “I want to believe that the recent feats by these players is a good development for the game. But I think we really need to double our effort if we are going to get any good result at the Rio Olympics,” he said.
Obisanya, who was the first champion in the maiden Asoju-Oba table tennis championship 46 years ago, however, advised both the National Sports Commission and Table Tennis Federation not to rest on their oars in order to ensure that the players win medals at the Olympics.
According to him, “qualifying for the Olympics is one thing, but getting good preparation for the game is another major thing. We cannot always pay lip service to adequate training and exposure of our players and hope that when they get to the Olympics the medals will be theirs. It is not the same thing as the All Africa Games where they can just stroll in and pick up medals.
“I hope both the Table Tennis Federation and the Sports Commission will work hand-in-hand and make sure they give adequate technical back up to these players to live up to their optimum,” he said.