Amazing teenage girl who took Africa by storm
Winner the bronze medal at the 2021 ITTF Africa Championships in Yaoundé, Cameroon is certainly the best moment for 17-year-old Samuel Boboye, who made his international debut at the event.
Although a rookie, Boboye has taken the entire continent by storm, beating Algeria’s Larbi Bouriah in his first-ever senior international match.
Boboye clinched a flawless 4-0 (11-7, 11-8, 11-9, 11-5) victory over Bouriah, who had previously represented his country at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics.
He continued his first-round victory with another 4-2 (11-9, 11-13, 11-5, 6-11, 11-6, 11-8) victory over Cameroonian Nelson Nsoh Nji, setting up an eighth final. link with Egyptian veteran Ahmed Saleh.
Although he was eventually overpowered by the former African No.1, Boboye says the experience is one he will always cherish.
“I knew that the Algerian n ° 1 is a very good player and an Olympian, but what I had in mind was to go do my best and I did my best and I won 4-0. I couldn’t believe it when I beat him 11-7 in the first game and then in the second game again I beat him and I was so excited. Quadri Aruna was next to me cheering me on in the game, even Olajide Omotayo was there, they were saying ‘come on boy you can do it.’
“After winning the second game, even though I knew Saleh was a very good player, I wanted to do my best. I was leading the game, but couldn’t keep it up. He’s an experienced player, that’s how he beat me, so I need more experience. However, it was a good experience for me, ”said Boboye PUNCH Sports Extra.
He then teamed up with Azeez Solanke to win the doubles bronze medal after losing to Aruna and Bode Abiodun in the semi-finals.
He said it was a great opportunity to be on the same team with Aruna, Abiodun and Omotayo, players he admired.
“I never believed I could be successful in the team; there are a lot of good players in Lagos so being part of the squad was a big achievement.
“I didn’t believe that one day I would be in the same team with Quadri Aruna, Bode Abiodun and Olajide Omotayo, at each competition, I watched them play, they motivated me. While playing with them, they all encouraged me, they told me to keep training and never give up. Bode Abiodun even told me that I would be the next Quadri Aruna, ”he added.
He first won his accounts in May, when he beat Matthew Kuti in straight sets to become the junior national champion.
The senior high school student, who started playing table tennis in 2016, attributes his success in the sport to the vice-president of the Bayelsa State Table Tennis Association, Amaebi Stowe.
“When I won my first table tennis tournament I was so excited I didn’t even know what to do at the time, I hugged my president in the room, my second dad Amaebi Stowe. Supported me a lot, bringing in players from Lagos and Edo states to train, buying my kits and more, ”said Boboye. Additional Sport PUNCH.
While many children who venture into the sport do not receive enough support from their parents, Boboye says his father, a retired wrestler, gave him the support he needed.
“My dad was a very good wrestler but he’s retired so I took his place in the sport. I was a footballer and I played table tennis outdoors, so one day I was playing PSP, and my friend took me to a sports center called Prominziro Country Club, that’s where I saw tennis standard table and the owner of the premises, a player, played with me and told me that I had to come to the center every day. That’s when he started training me.
“When my dad saw me play table tennis, he encouraged me by wishing me the best in my career; my mother also encouraged me a lot, ”he added.
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