AS the Federal Government honoured some selected athletes with national honours on Monday in Abuja, sports stakeholders believe the exploits of table tennis’ star, Segun Toriola and others should also be considered for recognition.
They however picked hole in the award for sports with the dominance of football, which they argued would surely discourage other athletes.
Specifically, they singled the feat achieved by one of Africa’s most decorated table tennis players, Toriola who remains the only Nigerian in the history of the modern Olympics to attend six Olympic Games.
Since making his debut at the All Africa Games in 1995 in Harare, Toriola has won 13 gold, three silver and one bronze medals for Nigeria, while he remains the most successful table tennis player from the Continent at the Commonwealth Games having clinched two gold medals gold and four bronze medals since table tennis became a medal hauling event at the games in 2002.
In the African table tennis championships, Toriola won eight gold medals, four silver medals and a bronze medal. As the most successful African player, he became the first player to make it to the quarterfinal stage at the Olympics and with his six appearances at the Olympics; he joined the duo of Joao N’Tyamba of Angola and Maria Mutola of Mozambique as the third ever African athlete to compete in six Olympics.
From former national table tennis coach, Babatunde Obisanya, fumed over the selection of the awardees, saying, ignoring the exploits of the likes of Toriola was a disservice to other sports.