Tennis ‘spirit’ runs in my family – 13-year-old cadet champ

Tennis ‘spirit’ runs in my family – 13-year-old cadet champ

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Talent is defined as a natural aptitude or skill, something that best describes nature’s gift to Nigeria’s 13-year-old table tennis sensation, Abayomi Animashaun. For a first time visitor to the Lagos National Stadium, Animashaun could easily pass for one of the ball boys who used to entertain football fans with their skills before any international game involving the Super Eagles.

But immediately Animashaun unpacks his kit bag inside the Molade Okoya-Thomas Indoor Sports Hall, and proceeds to one of the tables to begin his training ritual in the home of ping-pongers, one gets the feeling that there is something different about him.

The young man in question is not just a gatecrasher but bonafide member of the Nigeria Table Tennis Federation team. Animashaun at the age of 12 emerged a threat to bigger opponents after he stole the show at the International Table Tennis Federation World Tour, Lagos Open, and represented Nigeria at the ITTF Hopes Week in Shanghai, China earlier in the year, finishing second.

Before the trip to the Asian country, the Junior Secondary School student of Bestline Distinct College, Ado-Ekiti also had the honour of flying the nation’s flag at this year’s ITTF World Junior Championship in Egypt, where he won gold in the U-12 boys’ singles category.

However, the hottest property out of Africa, according to ITTF Education and Training Coordinator, Dejan Papic, was not in the final AAG nine-man team that was in Congo Brazzaville, but he remains confident that his time will come someday.

“I’m not sad that I did not go to Congo for the AAG. My age is not up to that level. I will still training hard to make the team in future,” he said. Asking him about his ability to manage the level of success he had recorded in so short a time attracted a confident response.

“I would rate my performance

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