Following the qualification of the trio of Olufunke Oshonaike, Olajide Omotayo and Offiong Edem for Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games, the President of Nigeria Table Tennis Federation (NTTF), Ishaku Tikon has said the sport has justified its status among all sports in Nigeria.
Tikon who was with the team at the Olympic Qualifying Tournament in Tunis described the injury sustained by Aruna Quadri as unfortunate but said that this would not prevent the highest ranked player in the Africa to miss the Olympic Games in Tokyo.
“I am so happy with the performance of the players because they gave a good account of themselves in the tournaments which started with the ITTF Africa Top 16 Cup. With the outcome of the first tournament, Nigeria remained one of the top table tennis playing nations in Africa and we are still there in terms of quality,” he said.
Tikon was particularly thrilled with the qualification of the players for Tokyo 2020, adding that this showed that the players understood the importance of making the nation proud when it matters most.
“I watched all the matches played by our players and I can confirm to you that none of them was easy but the players showed their class and they were able to pick three of the eight ticket at stake in the men and women singles.
“It was unfortunate that Aruna Quadri has to withdraw due to a recurrent thigh injury because he had the chance to qualify. But based on doctors’ advice, he was asked to rest not to complicate the injury. But our consolation is that he can make it to Tokyo based on his ranking because he is rated 18th in the world and most of the players ahead of him have all booked their spots at Tokyo.
“From the qualification system, 13 players will be selected based on their world ranking and Aruna Quadri is the number one among the expected 13, so we are happy that he has worked hard to get this qualification through his world ranking,” he added.
The NTTF boss however, thanked the Ministry of Youth and Sports particularly the Minister, Sunday Dare for his unflinching support to the team while hoping that the players would get the needed support to prepare well for the games in Japan.