A House of Representatives member, Ayo Omidiran in strong terms condemned the exclusion of the women table tennis players from the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games in Australia next month by the Nigeria Table Tennis Federation (NTTF).
Chairman Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) Women Football Committee said the act by the Tennis federation is a case of gender discrimination by the sports authorities.
The lawmakers expressed their shock over the development when they passed a resolution in Abuja directing the sports ministry to reverse the decision immediately.
Omidiran added, “Mr. Speaker, what they are telling us is that other African countries with players not as qualified as the Nigerians will participate at the Games, but some of the best females in Africa, the Nigerians, will not be there.
“This is a case of gender discrimination by the sports authorities.
“Mr. Speaker, the prayer is that let the table tennis federation and the sports ministry add the names of at least three qualified female players to their list.”
“How can the federation drop the 2ndand 3rd ranked female table tennis players in Africa”?
Omidiran said, “Mr. Speaker, recall that on March 8th, the House marked the International Women’s Day and we all spoke glowingly about the role of women in the society. In the same month, here we are, hearing that qualified and ready female players are not allowed to represent Nigeria at the Commonwealth Games, simply because they are women”.
“I thought this was a joke initially, until I investigated it. The assumption is that female players will not be able to win medals for Nigeria. Are we saying that Funke Oshonaike is not qualified to win medals for Nigeria?”
The Nigeria Table Tennis Federation named an all-male squad consisting of 2002 Commonwealth Games Champion; Segun Toriola, Aruna Quadri, junior champion, Omotayo Olajide, Bode Abiodun and Jamiu Azeez, neglecting Six times Olympian; Funke Oshonaike, African Bronze medalist; Offiong Edem, Esther Oribamise and Cecilia Akpan.
Nigeria won bronze in the men’s team event at Glasgow 2014 courtesy of Abiodun, Quadri, Jide Ogidiolu, Ojo Onaolapo and Toriola.