World Table Tennis Tourney: Coach Absolves Toriola Of Blame

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Nigeria’s Coach to the just concluded World Team Table Tennis championship in Dortmund, Germany, Nasiru Bello, has urged Nigerians not to blame Segun Toriola for Nigeria’s inability to secure an Olympic ticket in the event.

Bello stressed that Toriola, who captained Team Nigeria to the tourney, should rather be seen as a hero after 15 years of playing for the country.

Toriola, Funke Oshonaike, Aruna Quadri and Offiong Edem have already secured places in the singles event of the Olympics but failed to win the team tickets in Germany.

Nigeria lost the tickets to Egypt both in the male and female categories in Germany.

Speaking on what led to Nigeria’s loss of the Olympic tickets to Egypt in Germany, Bello said: “Our problem is not lack of quality players but lack of participation in international competitions. We cannot blame the likes of Toriola, Oshonaike and Quadri for our failure in Dortmund because they have been qualifying the country for major championships in the past.”

He added that their not competing with their counterparts in international competitions affects their performances in major tourneys and as a result, always lead to their dwindling international ranking.

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Bello said the Nigeria Table-tennis Federation, NTTF, have recently acquired from Germany, a robot playing machine that will serve as performance-partner to ping pongers during preparation for major championship.

He also pointed out that financial constrains have been crippling the federation’s effort to return the country to the height of the game in Africa.

He charged private companies in the country to come to the aid of the federation by sponsoring table tennis tourney, adding that Government alone cannot shoulder the responsibility of funding sporting programme in the country.

Meanwhile, President of NTTF, Wahab Omotosho has called on the National Sports Commission, NSC, to ensure that Nigerian table-tennis players are camped early for the Olympic Games, which starts in July in London.

—Bamidele Olowosagba