By James Agberebi:
Nigeria women’s table tennis player Edem Offiong has lamented poor preparations ahead of the Rio Olympic Games.
Offiong will be representing Nigeria at this year’s games.
It will be her third games after appearing in Athens 2004 and Beijing 2008.
According to the International Table-Tennis Federation, Offiong however stated that despite the shoddy preparations, she hopes to do Nigeria proud.
“I am not really happy with the kind of preparation of Nigeria for the Olympic Games but personally I am training three hours every day hoping that my best will be enough for me in Brazil.
“I have not gone beyond the preliminary but I hope I can make it to the main draw this year,” she said.
She described the qualifiers for the Olympics in Sudan as a very difficult experience for her.
“I would not want to remember my experience in Sudan because from the first day of the Olympic Qualifying Tournament, I could not sleep as I was always thinking about the matches I would play. Even when I got to the table, I was a bit nervous.
“I think my quarter-final match against Algeria’s Islem Laid was the most difficult for me in Sudan. I don’t think Islem Laid has ever given me any threat in all our meetings but I just realized that I was nervous in the match and before I could realize she was leading 2-0. But the pep talk from Segun Toriola who acted as my coach really calmed me. So I was able to comport myself and finish the match. The semi-final and final matches were easy but the tie against Islem Laid was the toughest for me in my career,” she admitted.
“Unlike previous Olympic Games where I had to qualify through the African Games, qualifying for Rio is one of the greatest achievements,”
She went on to express delight getting the chance to compete in another Olympics.
“It is the dream of every athlete to compete at the Olympic Games and it is not everybody that makes it to the games so for me Olympic Games is the biggest competition in the world as it brings athletes all across the world together.
“It is only event that gives athletes the opportunity to mix up with athletes from different sports. So making it to my third Olympic Games is a dream comes true and I will forever cherish it,” she added.