Nigerian table tennis player, Segun Toriola will make history at the Olympic Games in Rio, when he becomes the first African athlete to compete for the seventh consecutive time at the world’s foremost sporting event.
Segun says his intensive training regime has made him become successful against his opponents.
“I always train very hard and always programme myself because it is very important to do so and my activities, anything I’m doing in this life. I think what really helped me is because I am focused and I work very hard, I train very hard. I don’t joke with my training so I think this is the most important thing for any athlete,” he said.
I always train very hard and always programme myself because it is very important.
Nigeria’s table tennis coach, Bello Nasiru, echoed the player’s skills as formidable which has given him an added advantage when playing against foreign players in any competition.
“To have Segun Toriola in the bench of Nigeria in table tennis for the Olympics, it creates fear in other countries’ players because they all know Segun Toriola as a skillful player. It helps the other players that are coming behind. It also sometimes controls the atmosphere of the games when we get there. We don’t just include him, he fights for it, he works for it. You understand what I am saying? In our continent Africa, there is no … there is no give away shirt to qualify you to the Olympics, you need to fight,” he said.
Toriola has now called for state governments to play a more hands-on role in scouting talent, developing athletes and facilities after a short-fall in the country’s only rare sport.
“Right now, the way we are developing sports in Nigeria is wrong. It is not like the way it used to be before, some many years before. Before it was different, the development was there before through the states’ sports council but now the states’ sports council, they did not do their job anymore and that is the problem. Maybe only one or two sports council is doing their job but the rest is not doing their job. That is where the problem of the development is, because the sports ministry cannot take care of the whole sports in Nigeria. They don’t have the budget for that. They don’t have the funds for that,” said Toriola.
Toriola, who currently plays for two table tennis clubs in Belgium and France says he is working hard to bring home a medal for Nigeria.