Nigeria's Oshonaike & Eke make Olympic history but miss out on medals

The table tennis player, Funke Oshonaike, was Nigeria's flag-bearer at the 2016 Games in Rio and is the first African woman to qualify for seven Games, beating out Mozambican runner Maria Mutola for the record.

Nigeria's Funke Oshonaike is the first African woman to play in seven Olympics and the first woman to join the exclusive International Table Tennis Federation ‘Club of 7’. Picture: @Olympics/Twitter.

JOHANNESBURG - Nigerian legend Funke Oshonaike made history by being the first African woman to play in seven Olympics and the first woman to join the exclusive International Table Tennis Federation ‘Club of 7’ of players to have competed at seven Olympic Games.

The 46-year-old table tennis player was Nigeria's flag-bearer at the 2016 Games in Rio and is the first African woman to qualify for seven Games, beating out Mozambican runner Maria Mutola for the record.

The veteran Nigeria has been sent packing from the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games in the preliminary round by Liu Juan of the United States.

She lost the first set by 11-7, the second by 11-3, and the third by 11-4.

Oshonaike won the fourth set 13-11 before she lost the 5th set 11-4 to crash out of the Olympic Games.

Speaking after her game, the athlete said despite losing her game, she still had a lot to thank God for.

“I feel kind of sad and happy. I am very sad that I lost but happy that I was able to be at the Olympics representing my country once again.

“It is a big privilege for me, but it is rather unfortunate for me that I had to face a Chinese-American, the best in America, in the preliminary stage,” said Oshonaike.

Oshonaike was not the only one to make history at the Games as Uche Eke become the first Nigerian to ever compete in the gymnastics event of the Olympics.

Nigeria’s Uche Eke missed the chance to qualify for the quarter-finals in the gymnastics event at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics on Saturday.

He was competing in the men’s all-around artistic gymnastics event and placed 36th with a score of 74.765, which was not enough for a place in the last eight.

The 24-year-old was Nigeria’s first and only gymnastics representative at the ongoing Tokyo Olympics.

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