Veteran table tennis star, Funke Oshonaike, has described herself as “a living testimony” as she eyes participation at her seventh Olympic Games in Tokyo, Japan next year.
The 45-year-old has secured qualification for the Games and is hoping the global showpiece won’t be eventually cancelled after the International Olympic Committee and the Japanese government postponed it from 2020 to 2021 due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Oshonaike made her debut at the Olympics in 1996 at Atlanta, at just 21 years. She’s competed in four other editions of the Games, and featuring in Tokyo will see her equal compatriot and men’s table tennis player Segun Toriola’s record of African athlete with the highest appearances at the Olympics.
“Qualifying for the Oympics was unbelievable, I still stare at the mirror and ask myself, ‘Is this real?’ It’s amazing,” Oshonaike told The PUNCH.
“I remembered when the world body gave Segun Toriola the award (for most Olympic appearances by an African) and I asked myself If I could also do it. And here I am, I did it, believed in myself, I qualified, I was shocked, I’m a living testimony.
“The journey was tough, I did surgery before the qualifiers but look at me now, I’m happy, I just hope and pray the Olympics won’t be cancelled.”