Charges youngsters to be disciplined
Nigeria Table Tennis legend Segun Toriola has exclusively told busybuddiesng.com he is targeting qualification for a record-extending 8th Olympics appearance by an African come Tokyo 2020 in Japan, and the first in the sport of table tennis.
The 44-year old former African and Commonwealth champion became the first and only African to participate at seven Olympics when he took part in the 2016 Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
Asked whether he will be attempting to extend the record next year in Tokyo, Toriola said: “Yes, that is my plan.
“My plan and focus is to qualify for the next Olympics in Tokyo to become the only player in the world to participate at 8 different Olympic Games in the sport of table tennis.”
Jörgen Persson, Zoran Primorac and Jean-Michel Saive are the other table tennis players to have played at the multi-sport event 7 times.
For youngsters aiming to achieve table tennis greatness like Toriola, the 4-time All Africa Games champion advised them to remain focused, disciplined and always embrace hard work.
“They have to believe in themselves, that’s the most important thing,” the highly-decorated athlete said.
“And they will need to work very, very hard and train very, very hard. What I mean by ‘work very hard’ is to train very hard and listen to their coach because there’s no magic. If you don’t train very well and listen to your coach, you can’t improve; you can’t be a world-class player.
“They have to also believe in themselves, be focused and programme themselves. If you want to be a top player, you have to re-programme your lifestyle because this sport of table tennis is very difficult.”