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Congo’s Saka Suraju dreams 2016 glory

By Editor
01 August 2016   |   3:02 am
On record, Saka Suraju became the first table tennis athlete from the Central African nation to feature at the Olympic Games when he made his debut at the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games in China alongside Chinese-born Yang Fen.
Saka Suraju wants a better performance at the Rio Games than he did in his previous two outings.

Saka Suraju wants a better performance at the Rio Games than he did in his previous two outings.

As one of the ageing players in Africa, Saka Suraju of Congo Brazzaville is hoping to make it to the last 32 at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games.

On record, Saka Suraju became the first table tennis athlete from the Central African nation to feature at the Olympic Games when he made his debut at the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games in China alongside Chinese-born Yang Fen.

Suraju will return to the stage at Olympic Games in Brazil after making it through the African Olympic qualifying tournament in Sudan early this year.

In readiness for the Rio Olympic Games, Suraju with teammates – Wang Jianan and Han Xing are at present honing their skills at the ultra-modern Kintele Stadium in Brazzaville under the guide of their Chinese coaches.

A confident Suraju, who recently turned 40 and will be making his third appearance at the Olympic Games having featured in Beijing 2008, London 2012 and now Rio 2016, believes he would make a meaningful impact in Brazil.

“I am happy that I Made it to my third Olympic Games but I must admit that it was not an easy ride to Brazil. After failing to qualify at the 2015 African Games, I had to fight for one of the two slots at the African Olympic qualifying tournament in Sudan. I was a bit nervous during the competition because some of the younger players were keen to be in Brazil. But despite my lack of preparation for the tournament, my experience and knowledge of the sport came to fore and I made it,” he said.

Prior to the camping in Brazzaville, Suraju was in Lagos for the 2014 Premier Lotto Nigeria Open, but he met his lost in the men’s singles round of 16 against Egypt’s Khalid Assar.

“My coming to Lagos was part of my preparation for the Olympic Games. I wanted to assess myself against other top players. Apart from this, playing in Lagos has been unique because of the support of the fans, which I think has been the best we have ever had in Africa. The Lagos fans are just unique because their support is another motivation for the players. They support any player regardless of his or her country and what they enjoy is good game. Even if any Nigerian is not playing well, they are willing to continue to support such player and this alone is an inspiration to the player. I was not really disappointed with my performance but I just needed to work harder for the Olympic Games,” he admitted.