Segun Toriola Eyes Tokyo 2020 | Independent Newspapers Limited
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Segun Toriola Eyes Tokyo 2020

Posted: Aug 30, 2016 at 7:08 pm   /   by   /   comments (0)

If there is any player that is not ready to quit table tennis despite his age and long years in the game, it is Nigeria’s Segun Toriola, who is now 42 but still wants to participate at the next Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games in Japan.
As the first African to compete at seven Olympic Games, Toriola was honoured at Rio 2016 and now he wants to continue to shift the goal post by making his eighth appearance at an Olympic Games.
“I am still one of the best in my sport despite my age and my consistency in table tennis which sees me playing in two top regular clubs in Europe would remain an added advantage for me as I continue to play in world class competitions,” Toriola said.
“Being 42 years old is one thing, being fit enough to continue playing top table tennis is another.” He continued, “I am very discipline and I religiously follow the things that will continue to aid my fitness in the game. Come Tokyo 2020, I will still be good to represent Nigeria in top grade international competitions until after the Tokyo Olympics.”
Toriola believes with the feat achieved by Aruna Quadri in Rio, they can inspire a younger generation of Nigerians to take up the sport, “My recognition by the IOC at the Rio Olympics was a very good one and recognition of my achievements.
“This serves as a motivation for the youthful table tennis players and a boost for them to work hard and do well in their career. They now know that when they distinguish themselves, they would be recognized by the international sports federations.
“The fear of not having any top rated Nigerian player doing well at the international circuit for a long time was one of the reasons I prolonged my playing career in table tennis. I was scared not having any quality players to hand over to when I retire,” he said.
“But with the emergence of Aruna Quadri, I can now retire peacefully with the rest of mind that, there is somebody worth the salt who can continue from where I stopped, but this won’t happen until after the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. I am still very active and even the Nigeria Table Tennis Federation have asked me to continue,” added Toriola.
“Some countries approached me in Rio to take up the full-time job as national team coach, but I turned all the requests down as I am not ready to quit.”