Nigerian table tennis player, Segun Toriola, will become the first African Olympian with seven appearances at the Olympic Games if he qualifies for Rio 2016.
The 41-year-old has appeared in six consecutive Games since he first debuted at the Barcelona 1992 Games.
Toriola became the leading Nigerian with the highest number of appearances when he competed at the Beijing 2008 Olympics, marking his fifth involvement in the Games.
At the London 2012 Games, he surpassed the previous consecutive record appearances held by Mary Onyali (5) and table tennis player, Bose Kaffo (5, Beijing 2008).
With his participation in the London Games, he became Nigeria’s leading Olympian with six consecutive appearances, joining João N’Tyamba of Angola and Maria Mutola of Mozambique as only the third African athlete to compete in six Olympics tournament.
Should he make it to Rio 2016, Toriola would join the ranks of Croatia’s Zoran Primorac, Sweden’s Jörgen Persson and Belgium’s Jean-Michel Saive, who have all participated seven times in the Olympics.
He, however, has to go through the qualifiers first, in a two-tournament championship – the ITTF-Africa Top 16 Cup and the ITTF-Africa Olympic Qualifier scheduled for Khartoum, Sudan, in February 2016.
The Africa Top 16 holds on February 14 and February 15 while the latter, whose winner will represent the continent and country at the Games in Brazil, holds from the 16th to 18th of the same month.
Toriola will battle challenge from compatriot and Africa’s number two player, Aruna Quadri, who won the tournament in 2014, for one of the two Olympic slots available at the qualifiers.
The four-time African Table Tennis Singles champion is heavily tipped to book a slot to the Olympics, having narrowly missed out for a place with the loss to Wang Jianan of Congo in the quarter-finals at the All Africa Games.