The Liebherr 2017 World Championship in Dusseldorf Germany witnessed an uncommon match up between, 12 year-old Rizumu Ono from Philippines, born to Japanese father and Filipinos mother, against 41-year old Olufunke Oshonaike from Nigeria in the Women's Single qualifications stage.
Almost three decades gap between the two, the fact that they played together at the global stage, is a true unifying force for the game, that age is no barrier and table tennis is a sport for all.
Rizumu Ono was born on 9th October 2004 and Olufunke Oshonaike was born on 28th October, 1975.
Olufunke Oshonaike beat Rizumu Ono in a thrilling six games encounter (15-13, 11-8, 12-10, 8-11, 6-11, 12-10) but the match and the situation was more than just the close scores.
Not shying away from what she felt, Olufunke Oshonaike said,
“I must admit that I have never been so nervous like this in my life particularly playing against the young girl who is not even older than my first son who is 14. I was so scared because she is so talented that even before the match, I could not sleep well. I knew that if I don’t beat her I won’t be able to make it out of the group.”-Olufunke Oshonaike
“I must tell you that I was really scared wondering what I will tell Nigerians back home, that a 12 year-old girl beat me without knowing that the girl is more talented than her age,”
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