Africa’s oldest serving female table tennis player, Olufunke Oshonaike, on Saturday described her No. 2 ranking in Africa after her triumph at the 2016 ITTF African Championships in Morocco as fulfilling.
Oshonaike told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on telephone from her base in Germany that she was happy and felt complete with the ranking.
“This is a ranking I must say is well deserved, I worked so hard for it and I am happy my efforts yielded positive result.
“This ranking actually means a lot to me and it is very dear to my heart.
“To be candid, I never expected it and I am on top of the world with so much joy and happiness,’’ she told NAN.
NAN reports that the mother of two boys reclaimed the title she last won in 2003 and is currently the African Women’s Singles Table Tennis champion.
The Olympian added that she was Nigeria’s lone female representative at the competition in Morocco and that it dampened her spirit.
“I was so sad that the government did not provide money for other female players to participate. It was frustrating because I was the only female.
“Miraculously, I found myself in the final against the number one player in Africa who had yet to lose any match to an African in the past five years.
“It was like a mission impossible but I decided to give my best shot at it.
“My coach, Segun Toriola, who was in Morocco to cheer me, told me to just hang on there and enjoy myself. I did and my opponent was making mistakes to my advantage.
“I’m so happy because it’s like a divine arrangement to crown my efforts.
“This action has cut out the country for two global competitions coming up in 2017 and 2018,’’ she said.
NAN reports that in spite of her age (41), Oshonaike is still waxing stronger in the game and has become a role model to players in the continent.