BY OLATOSIMI FADAHUNSI.
As if studying for at least eight hours every day isn’t a hectic demand on its own, Esther Oribamise adds another six hours of intensive training in her beloved sport, table tennis.
She negotiates the excruciating rigor of these two herculean duties in her rise to be not just a world-beater but an educated one.
Playing table tennis, being a female, according to her, the odds were not in anyways on her side. The Ekiti State University student who is Nigeria’s number one female junior table tennis player told www.sportsvillagesquare.com about the fire that lightens her candles had continued to sustain it.
Esther, who was born in Ekiti, had her primary and secondary education in the region. She revealed that her parents were also part of the reasons she had continued to further her table tennis career.
Narrating how she started, Esther said: “I started playing table tennis at age of 10. In my primary school days, there was an inter-local government competition.
“My coach, Olubode Ajayi came to my school to select some players that represented Ado Local Government.
“I was picked and in that competition I came second. My parents were happy about it and from then they started giving me the necessary support.
“After that, I participated at the South West table tennis competition where I lost in the final. Ever since then my parents have been encouraging me saying there is a career in table tennis for me.”
The Department of Human Kinetics Education of the Ekiti State University student explained that table tennis required six hours, while education also needed devotion, but managing her time well has been sustaining factor.
Though, she confessed that combining education and professional table tennis have been hectic, Esther said she trusted God for help.
“My education and table tennis often clash”, she said. “The two need maximum concentration: Before going for the African Youth Game, I was in school writing exams – I did not have enough time to train, it was a week before the exam that the federation wrote to my school for my release.
“I only had few days for training. Immediately I got to school, I will not be given a day to prepare for my remaining papers. God also, has been helping me in combining the two.”
Expected to be banking on the euphoria of winning a bronze medal at the just concluded African Youth Games in Algiers, Esther, who also won a silver medal alongside Solanke Azeez at the doubles event said she wanted more.
“I appreciated winning the Bronze medal at the African Youth Game, but I should have done better,” she said.
On her plans for the future, she said, “If I continue to strive, Nigeria should expect to see me in the Olympics Games in Buenos Aires, Argentina in 2020.