Olujuwon Oshonaike, father of veteran player, Funke, says he has no regrets over his daughter’s decision to make a living from table tennis. He said his wife was initially against Funke’s decision to play the game.
The father of the 2016 winner of the ITTF Africa Senior Championships told the News Agency of Nigeria on Monday that his daughter had through the sport brought honour to his family.
He said, “Funke has showcased the name of the family to the world. I am blessed to have such a daughter.
“When the then Lagos State table tennis coach, nicknamed Malawi came to me that I should allow her to engage in the sport, I told him with all pleasure that he could train her. I love sports, so when the request came, I didn’t hesitate.
“The principal of her school then (Igbobi Girls High School) asked me if she would be able to combine education with sport. I said she would.”
Oshonaike advised parents not to discourage their children from engaging actively in any sport of their choice.
He said, “Parents should not stop their children from engaging in sports, they never can tell if it will be that child that will bring out the glory of their family.
“They need to give such children support, give advice on how to combine both education and sports.
“I have never regretted allowing Funke to engage in sports. You cannot imagine where she has taken my name to in the world.”
Oshonaike added that his wife and neighbours were not in support but he told them that was what he wanted for his daughter.
He said, “My wife didn’t want Funke to go into sports then, even our neighbours at Somolu were asking: how could I allow her to participate in sports?
“But I told them that I wanted her in sports.
“And it has paid off today, I thank God for the talent given to her and the wisdom given to me not to shatter her dreams.”
NAN reports that Oshonaike, who was discovered playing table tennis in the street, started representing Nigeria when she was 12 years old.
She won a silver medal in the women’s singles event at the 2011 Africa Games, bronze at the 2007 Algiers Africa Games, a bronze at the 2015 Maputo Africa Games.
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