Table-tennis is one sport that is often neglected in Nigeria, and as the Rio 2016 Olympics is set to begin in Brazil, this writer looks at what has become of future boys who wish to adore Nigeria’s someday in the game of table-tennis.
For these young Nigerian boys who are all Altar boys in St. Dominic Catholic Church Yaba, Lagos, gathering every Saturday morning for their usual clean-up, and rehearsal has become a norm. After which they end these sessions with some rounds of knocking the ball with bats in the game of Table-tennis.
This writer who further investigated the attitude of these boys towards the game, found out that they are genuinely interested in improving in the game, as some of them can actually forfeit breakfast just to ensure that they have a good time playing Table-tennis. In fact, not allowing them to take part in the game is a clear indication that they are under severe punishment, which could eventually make them unhappy for the rest of the day.
However, since they are privileged to have just one Table, which makes it take longer time before each one could have his turn, it delays development and affects their ability to improve in the game.
This should be of concern to individuals, corporate organizations and the society at large, since Nigeria as a nation is yet to win a medal in Table-tennis as far as the Olympics game is concerned as at press time.
In one of Sports Intelligence interview with Dr. Cecilia Arinye, the Director of Sports University of Lagos, published in July/August edition of 2013, Arinye stated clearly that “There Is No Hope For Nigeria At The 2016 Olympics”.
Her position was based on the fact that scientifically backed training which is essential in Table-tennis, and can be acquired when early arrangement and tours are made in nations of the origin of the game is lacking in our contingent, and that makes it difficult for success to be achieved.
These young boys probably need such training at this stage of their lives, to enable them become stars in the future, but who then would come to their rescue?