Wednesday, August 3, 2016 12:04 pm
Just like the International Olympic Committee (IOC), the sole custodian of table tennis globally, the International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF) has also recognised the feat set by one of Africa’s most decorated athletes, Nigerian Segun Toriola.
The world table tennis ruling body identified with the record to be set by the former African champion at Rio Olympic Games in Brazil.
In the media guide released by ITTF, Toriola’s feat was listed on page 15 stating, “Nigeria’s Segun Toriola will be playing his seventh Olympic Games in Rio, which is the most of any African athlete from any Olympic sport.”
“Sweden’s Jorgen Persson, Croatia’s Zoran Primorac and Belgium’s Jean-Michel Saive have played in seven Olympic Games, most of any table tennis player. Nigeria’s Segun Toriola will join them, as he plays his 7th Olympic in Rio,” it stated.
The best African performer at the Olympic Games is Segun Toriola whose outing at the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games in China became the reference globally. Toriola’s biggest achievement at the Olympic Games has been reaching the Men’s Singles Round of 16 final at the 2008 Olympics in Beijing, beating amongst others former world number 1 Jean-Michel Saive as well as David Zhuang. His Round of 32 match-up with Jean-Michel Saive was seen by many as one of the highlights of the Men’s Singles Tournament. He narrowly lost 4-3 to heavily favoured Oh Sang-Eun in the 1/16 final.
From record of table tennis at the Olympic Games, no African player or team has won medal but Nigeria is among the 15 countries that have featured in the table tennis event of the Olympic Games since 1988 when table tennis became a medal hauling event at the Olympic Games. Others are Sweden, Australia, Austria, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Hong Kong, Hungary, India, Japan, Korea Republic, Poland and the United States.
Among the six countries that have always have both male and female representation in the table tennis event of the Olympic Games, Nigeria made the list while others are Canada, China, India, Japan, Korea Republic and the United States…
Also the youngest team playing in Rio is USA Men’s Team with an average age of 20.2 years, while the youngest male player in Rio is USA’s Kanak Jha, who is 16 years 1 month 16 days, with the youngest female player is Fiji’s Sally Yee, who is 15 years 3 months 27 days.
The oldest male player is Spain’s He Zhiwen, who is 54 years 2 months 6 days while the oldest female player is Luxembourg’s Ni Xialian, who is 53 years 1 month 2 days.
China’s GUO Yue was 16 years, 1 month and 3 days old when she claimed bronze in the women’s doubles event with NIU Jianfeng at Athens 2004 to become the youngest medalist, while Korea’s OH Sangeun was the oldest Olympic table tennis medalist ever, claiming the men’s team silver medal in 2012.
At the Olympic Games, no final has gone the full 7 games distance since matches became best of 7, while no final has ever been won by the minimum 2 points margin in the final game (includes best of 7 and 5 and 3).
Both Men’s and Women’s Team event finals have never gone beyond 3-0 match score, while the fastest Olympic table tennis final was played by China’s Zhang Yining against north Korea’s Kim Hyang Mi in Athens 2004. Zhang beat Kim 11-8, 11-7, 11-2, 11-2 (63 points).
It was at the 1988 Moscow Olympic Games that China didn’t appear in the Men’s Singles semifinals, however China won the men’s doubles title, while Japan’s first Olympic medal came in London 2012 where they won Silver in the Women’s Team event. Japan has never won a medal in singles.
China’s Zhang Yining has never lost a match in any event. Along with Ma Lin, she has won Singles, Doubles, and Team Gold medals. Additionally, Zhang was never pushed beyond 5 games in the singles event.
The 1992 Barcelona Olympic Games had no playoff match for bronze; in all events two players/pairs were awarded bronze medals.