Olympic journey of veteran Nigeria table tennis player, Funke Oshonaike has ended after losing 4-1 to Juan Liu from the United States at women’s singles preliminary round of table tennis on Saturday.
The match, which took place at Tokyo Metropolitan Gymnasium, saw the Chinese-American dominate the 46-year-old Nigerian.
The 45-year-old, who have represented Nigeria in the seven Olympic Games, failed to proceed to the next stage after losing the first three-set.
Liu took the first three sets (11-7, 11-3, 11-4) before Oshonaike hinted a spark of resistance to win the fourth in a tie-break 13-11.
However, the resurgence was quenched by a fired-up Liu, who snatched the fourth set and, consequently, the match and the qualification into the first round.
Oshonaike, who became the first African female athlete to compete in seven Olympic Games, had her dream of “defeating the undefeated” cut prematurely short.
Reacting to the loss, the 11-time African Games medallist said she is both happy and sad.
She spelt out the sadness of losing while also expressing the joy of making history in the same vein.
I’m feeling kind of sad and happy. I’m sad that I lost, but I’m happy to be here again at the Olympics to represent my country. But it’s rather unfortunate that I’ve to play a Chinese-American and the best in American in the qualification round.
But I have a lot of reasons to be grateful and happy. I’m happy that my dream has come true. As a seven-time Olympian, at my age, I’m still representing my country.