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Sports ministry yet to refund my money for Morocco trip, says Oshonaike

By Samuel Ifetoye
08 November 2016   |   4:16 am
African's women’s Table Tennis Champion, Funke Oshonaike, has said she is yet to get any response from the Sports Ministry after her victory over Egypt’s Dina Meshref.
Current Africa’s queen of Table Tennis, Funke Oshonaike

Current Africa’s queen of Table Tennis, Funke Oshonaike<br />

Insists she ‘ll retire when younger stars are ready
African’s women’s Table Tennis Champion, Funke Oshonaike, has said she is yet to get any response from the Sports Ministry after her victory over Egypt’s Dina Meshref.

Oshonaike reclaimed the title she won 24 years ago when she defeated Meshref at the just concluded International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF) African Senior Championships in Morocco.

Recently, the Minister of Youth and Sports, Solomon Dalung, urged other Nigerian athletes to emulate her, Segun Toriola, Aruna Quadri after their feats in Morocco.

The sports ministry, in a statement after their achievements in Agadir, Morocco, said the performance of the trio was remarkable and a pride to the nation.

Speaking on a live programme from her base in Germany, Oshonaike revealed how the nation’s President of the Table Tennis Federation, Wahid Oshodi, encouraged her to be at the championship in Morocco.

“Barrister Wahid Oshodi was the one who told me that I should come to Morocco, that I should not be worried that the federation was going to do something as regards my ticket fares. I have not actually heard anything from the ministry up till now. But I do not think that the ministry has done something as regards refunding my money back to me.

“Mr. Oshodi keeps promising me that the federation is still on it and that the ministry will definitely do something about this matter. But for me, I am still enjoying myself, still basking in the euphoria of my victory in Egypt. But my regret was still the fact that we were worked over in the women’s double event. I could not believe that my teammates could not be there with me for the double event. I was actually alone in Morocco; the consolation was the fact that I won the single title. Even the boys who came over, just like me, had to pay for their tickets to Morocco,” she said.

Commenting on the latest ranking where she moved up from 256 to 206, Oshonaike described it as not a fair rating of the nation’s table tennis stars.

“The reason why the Nigerian table tennis athletes receive low rating in the ITTF is because a lot of us do not participate in ITTF rated competitions. The ITTF ranking is just a number, I still believe we have a lot of talented athletes but the problem has always been funding to allow attend some of these competition for us to get better ranking.

“I still believe that the sports ministry cannot do this alone, because there are many corporate bodies and individuals who can come to our aid. These people can actually take us back to where we used to be on the continent. I am begging them if they can just come back in sponsoring table tennis so that younger athletes can take over then I can now give up. But for now, there are no athletes ready to take over from us,” she stated.

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