Nigeria and Africa table tennis star, Funke Oshonaike, has said that Tokyo 2020 Olympics will be his last appearance at the quadrennial Games as a player.
Oshonaike who is making her seventh appearance at the Olympics made the submission on Saturday after she lost 1-4 (7-11, 3-11, 4-11, 13-11, 4-11) in the preliminary round of the women’s singles to Liu Juan of the United States to crash out of the Games.
She was the first Nigerian player to play on the day but her wealth of experience could not stop her 36-year-old American opponent from advancing.
Liu raced to a 3-0 lead before Oshonaike managed to win the fourth set, while the former sealed the victory in the last set with a comprehensive result, 11-4.
According to a social media post, Oshonaike ruled out going for a record eighth Olympics as a player in 2024.
“Paris 2024? I’m going to be there, but as a spectator,” 45-year-old Oshonaike told the Olympics channel.
“I never gave up, I’m here today and I’m so happy that I could play because I was not expecting it.
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“I just lost, I’m supposed to be kind of sad, but I’m happy that we can be here at the Olympics. This is the spirit of the Games, you lose or win but we are all Olympians.
Meanwhile, the former African champion, Oshonaike, received plaudits for her exploits in table tennis despite her inability to advance.
“Oshonaike has done extremely well for Nigeria. At close to 50 years of age and having represented her country at seven Olympics, it’s time to retire and pass knowledge to the younger generation,” Sunday Olufemi Adedeji, writes through the social media.