African table tennis queen Funke Oshonaike has hailed youngster Esther Oribamishe who won the African Continental Qualification tournament and booked a ticket to 2018 Youth Olympic Games. Despite missing out on participation at the 2017 ITTF African Junior and Cadet Championships, Oribamise was in terrific form at the continental qualification event as she beats Egypt’s Marwa Alhodaby in the final in Tunisia on Monday.
Victory over Morocco’s Ines Outolla in the last four (11-4, 11-9, 11-7, 11-1) guaranteed a top two finish and the Olympic qualification in the Girls’ Singles for Oribamise, but the Nigerian wasn’t done there as she relied on experience to secure a 4-3 victory (11- 6, 11-9, 9-11, 12-10, 8-11, 7-11, 13-11) over Alhodaby in the final. Outcry followed the decision to withdraw Team Nigeria from participating at ITTF African Junior and Cadet Championships after the Sports Ministry failed to release funds but the President of the Nigeria Table Tennis Federation Waheed Oshodi later facilitated the participation of Oribamishe and Azeez Sholanke in the Olympic qualification event which served off shortly after the African tourney.
Oribamishe rewarded Oshodi’s effort with a victory at the tournament and ticket to Argentina. Oshonaike said she was proud of Oribamishe not only for her talent but for also displaying strong mentality to overcome the disappointment of not featuring in the African championship to beat all-comers in the Youth Games qualifications.
“Wow! I’m so very happy today. Against all odds, Esther Oribamishe won the Africa Youth Olympic qualification in Tunis. Although the kids couldn’t participate in the championship, the only girl that went there to feature in the YOG won the gold medal. To God be the glory for this success,” she said. She also hailed Oshodi for spending his personal money to get the two players to travel to Tunisia to feature in the tournament.