By Oladimeji Loko in Rio:
Africa and Nigeria tennis legend Segun Toriola has been honoured by induction into the prestigious ‘7 Club’ by the International Table Tennis Federation ( ITTF).
At an impressive but short ceremony before the commencement of Friday’s men’s team event game between Nigeria and China, Toriola was handed a commemorative plaque in the presence of some members of ‘7 Club by ITTF president, Thomas Wieker.
Some members of the club who turned up for the ceremony were Jorge Person of Sweden, Zoran Primora of Croatia and Jean-Michel Saive of Belgium.
Nigeria’s most decorated table tennis star Toriola, who has attended a record seven Olympics, was also given a standing ovation by the crowd that turned up for the match at Riocentro Pavilion 3.
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Speaking at the celebration organised to honour the most decorated table tennis player in Africa, ITTF President Thomas Wiekert believes the feat achieved by Toriola should be an inspiration to athletes across the world particularly in Africa.
“On behalf of the ITTF I would like to congratulate Segun Toriola on his 7th Olympic appearance. This is a fantastic achievement and one that needs to be celebrated. We have enjoyed watching you play and we look forward to watching you more,” Wiekert said.
Belgium’s Saive lauded Toriola for his exploits saying: “We have played many times and had many experiences together. Welcome to the ‘7 Club’ and we are honoured to share this record with you, as you are a fantastic ambassador for the sport and a great guy.”