IOC Acknowledges Toriola’s Olympic Contributions | Independent Newspapers Limited
Newsletter subscribe


IOC Acknowledges Toriola’s Olympic Contributions

Posted: Jul 13, 2016 at 3:00 am   /   by   /   comments (0)

Segun Toriola has etched the country’s name on the Olympic Games’ record as the most decorated table tennis player in the African continent.
This follows a recent focus by the International Olympic Committee (IOC).
In an article published on the IOC website on July 11, Toriola was described as a record breaking athlete, who is Africa’s most successful table tennis player of all-time.
Toriola has featured in every Olympics since his debut at the Barcelona Games in 1992.
Toriola was lauded for being the first athlete from the continent to make seven appearances with his expected appearance at the Rio Olympic Games.
“Seven is the number of athletes who have appeared at seven Olympic Games or more; the outright record holder being Canadian show jumper Ian Millar, who made ten appearances between Munich 1972 and London 2012.
“Figuring large among the group of evergreen performers with seven Games to their name is legendary Jamaican sprinter Merlene Ottey, while this most select club is about to welcome a new member in Nigerian table tennis player Toriola, who booked his place at Rio 2016 in February,” IOC said.
It adds: “Toriola was only 18 when he made his Olympic debut at Barcelona 1992, teaming up in the doubles with Oluyomi Bankole.
The Nigerian pair scored a solitary win in the group phase, over Cuba’s Ruben Arado and Santiago Roque.
They made their first-round exits in both the singles and the doubles at the Atlanta 1996 and Sydney 2000. But Toriola reached the third round of the singles at Athens 2004.
It was, however, acknowledged that the former African champion was one of the best performers at the Games so far.
“In Beijing four years later, he produced the best performance of his lengthy Olympic career to date, scoring back-to-back wins over former world No1s David Zhuang of the U.S., and Belgium’s Jean-Michel Saive, and then taking the Republic of Korea’s Oh Sangeun to a seventh set.
At the London 2012, aged 37, Toriola went out in the second round to Sweden’s five-time world champion, Jörgen Persson.
IOC then noted that Toriola, who was from Ilorin, Kwara State, became Africa’s undisputed No1 on the back of his “unreadable forehand drive, topspin game and speed across the ground”.
A four-time continental champion between 1998 and 2006, he had also won four African Games titles — a Commonwealth Games gold medal (Manchester 2002) and a string of men’s doubles, mixed doubles and team titles.