Watch: Nigeria's Segun Toriola, the only African to participate in seven Olympic Games - Firstpost

Watch: Nigeria's Segun Toriola, the only African to participate in seven Olympic Games

The 2016 Olympics will kick off in Rio de Janeiro on Friday. The 28th edition of the Games will see 10,500 athletes from 206 National Olympic Committees, including nations like Kosovo and South Sudan, who will make their debut. Contingents from these nations will compete for 306 sets of medals, in 28 Olympic sports.

Some athletes will be living their Olympic dream for the first time, while some will be looking to carry their legacy from previous Games. Nigeria's table tennis sensation Segun Toriola falls in the second section. Going strong at the age of 41, Segun will take part in his seventh Olympics, becoming the only African sportsman to do so. The paddler has trained hard to perfect his serve as he looks to be seventh time lucky and win an Olympic medal in table tennis.

Watch the video above as Segun prepares for Rio Olympics 2016, proving once again that age is just a number.

Bello Nasiru, the coach for Nigeria's table tennis team, hailed Segun for making the Olympics for the seventh straight time. "He's been to the Olympics consistently, without any breaks, seven times. Being in the team, he gives us a pacemaker. With him in the team it means Nigeria is not joking about table tennis." he said.

Segun understands the difficulty of the challenge ahead of him in Rio and acknowledges that the Chinese are favorites, but it's the unpredictability of the sport that keeps him going. "The Chinese are favourites in table tennis, but what I like is that if you are ranked number one it doesn't mean you can't lose to number 100. I think that's what makes table tennis such a wonderful sport," said the seven-time Olympian.

Segun has dominated table tennis on the continent for 20 years, attributed in part to his unusual forehand technique. But he still needs to show what he's made of on the global stage. Maybe Rio 2016 will be his time to shine.

With inputs from AFP

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