|With Nike Aroyehun at Westchester TTC|
Nike Aroyehun (Nigeria)Also visiting the U.S. for the first time is Yinka's niece, Nike (pronounced NEE-keh) Aroyehun. Nike comes from Asaba, Nigeria where she lives with her husband and two children, ages 6 and 2.
Nike had a solid performance in her first USATT tournament, securing 2nd place in the Under 2050 event at Westchester TTC's February Open. I caught up with Nike about her table tennis career and few other things. I hope you enjoy getting to know her!
Quick facts about Nike Aroyehun:
2014 Nigerian Table Tennis League Championships - Winning Team Member
Current Member - Delta State Women's Team
2007 All-Africa Women's Champion
1. Tell us how you got started with table tennis. What do you like about it?
My uncle, Yinka Olasoji, introduced me to the game when I was in primary school at the tender age of 10 years. I like table tennis because it has given me lots of opportunities to travel far and wide, both nationally and internationally. It has allowed me to meet people from diverse cultures and backgrounds and has helped me maintain good health.
2. What equipment do you use?
Forehand rubber: Joola Energy Xtra
Backhand rubber: TTF Mator (pimpled)
3. Have you always used long pips?
Yes, I have always used long pips on the backhand.
4. How often do you play and train?
I train five times a week.
5. What are your current goals with regards to table tennis?
I will be playing at the Lagos ITTF Pro Tour, slated for March 10 - 14, 2015 and I am also working hard to make the National Team so I can represent Nigeria again at the forthcoming All-African Games, slated for middle of this year.
6. What is the biggest tournament that you have played in?
The biggest tournament that I have played is the 2008 Commonwealth Championships in Jaipur, India.
7. What is the most memorable match that you have ever played? Why?
My most memorable match was with Farah Abdelaziz of Egypt at the 2011 Sonara International Tournament. I won 3-2.
8. Is there one person that has greatly influenced your table tennis career? My husband. He is a weightlifting coach with the Delta State Sports Commission in Asaba. Being a sportsman also, he encouraged me a lot even after I gave birth to our children. He is still very supportive of me and always motivates me to pursue table tennis.
9. Who is your favorite international table tennis player? Why?
Aruna Quadri, because he is player I have been with together at the National camps on several occasions and he is very determined, positive, and a good ambassador for Nigerian table tennis.
10. In the few days that you have been here, have you noticed any big differences in the table tennis scene in the two countries?
11. What do you like to do when you are not playing table tennis?
I love cooking and watching Nigerian and American films.
12. What is your favorite American food?
Hamburger and Cheeseburger.
13. For someone who has never visited Nigeria before, how would you describe the country and its people?
Nigeria is a very nice country, with nice people, and with good hospitality. Aside from the Boko Haram insurgencies, which are only within a small part of the extreme North, every other thing is beautiful in Nigeria. The only place I will not advise any prospective tourist to visit in Nigeria is the extreme North.
14. Is there anything else that you would like to share with the readers?
Everything is possible in life if you believe you can always achieve your aims in life.
On behalf of all of us at Westchester TTC, I'd like to say that it was a pleasure to have Yinka and Nike these past few days. Many of us had an opportunity to train with them and learn from them and we look forward to seeing them sometime soon.
Until then ... O dabo! (goodbye in Yoruba)