Nigerian-born Italian table tennis player, John Oyebode, says his decision to play for Italy is to associate himself with the numerous opportunities available in the Italian table tennis circuit.
Oyebode is representing Italy in the ongoing ITTF Challenge Nigeria Open, holding at the Molade Okoya-Thomas Sports Hall, Teslim Balogun Stadium in Lagos.
Oyebode, who claimed two gold medals in the Cadet event of the 2017 International Table Tennis Federation Italian Junior and Cadet Open, said that his decision was already yielding results.
“I believe that playing for Italy is the right choice for me and I don’t have any regrets about it so far.
“The system over there supports players in all areas and gives room for development in both sports and education.
“Also, there is regular sponsorship to go for training tours and participate in major international competitions to enhance players skills and welfare and many more benefits too numerous to mention,’’ the 15-year-old said.
Oyebode, whose father, Michael, was part of the Nigerian coaching crew to the Rio 2016 Olympics in Brazil, said that his aspiration is to be among the top 10 players in the world.
On the ongoing Challenge, the player said the event had been competitive so far due to the number of players and countries taking part.
95 male and 55 female players are participating in the 46,000 dollars prize money ITTF Challenge.
Olar Benedek of Finland and Shao Jieni of Portugal won the 2016 men’s and women’s singles event respectively.
The competition which served-off on Aug. 9 will be concluded on Aug. 13.