Below is a story shared by a Nigerian Table Tenis legend, Funke Oshonaike. She narrated how she was sexually abused by a man 10 years older than her, and how her other travails never doused her love for Table Tenis.
”My name is olufunke oshonaike(God gave me to my parents to take care of) . I’ve really been loved and well taken care of by my parents . After getting a lot of discouraging messages from lot of people , though not new to me , I’ve decided to let you know a little about this super woman ???.
I started representing nigeria at the age of 14. I give God almighty the glory for this talent and all that I’ve achieved today . This are some of the downs in my life that made me a strong woman;
*When I was in primary 6, I ran out of school to play a competition at Rowe park and I was seriously caned by my teacher but I never gave up on Table tennis
*I was always booed every time I played a competition back then in nigeria because I was very shy! I asked why and I was told that I was proud, arrogant, blunt and I don’t mix with people. I’m talking about funke at the age of 13 till 19. I cried a lot ,went trough a lot, and there was even a time the crowd was going to stab me in Lagós because I defeated there darling biola odumosu my arch rival back then at Rowe park. My Nos 1 fan, my dad consoled me and still never gave up on table tennis in nigeria. My decision
* left nigeria after my diploma course at university of lagos to pursue my professional career, that was my decision even when I was advised not to go.
*left italy after 4yrs to Germany in 1998 bcos I wanted more, that was my decision.
*I got pregnant during my career and I was confused on what to do, but I kept it and I was still playing professional tt till I was 7 months pregnant which is like a taboo in nigeria!i even played African championship and won it , though nobody knew I was pregnant !That was my decision .
*i gave birth to my first child 2003 and I played all Africa games the same year and won 4 gold medals for Nigeria. My child was barely 6 months old. That was my decision
* I went to see my boyfriend of 10yrs relationship and I saw him sleeping in a bed with her girlfriend! I was heartbroken !The next day I had to travel to Australia, Sydney 2000. I cried all the way from Nigeria to Australia but I never gave up on men and my training. That was my decision
* I was physically, sexually, emotionally and mentally abused by a man that was 10yrs older than me . This man beat me ooo for more than 3 yrs and I remembered always going to Unilag with a battered face but I still never gave up on TT , men or living. That was my decision
I was duped of all my properties and my bank account was in his name(olodo funke). I left everything without looking back and I started my life all over again. It was very hard for me, but that was my decision
I fell in love again with my best friend here in Germany , 3 months to our wedding, he went to nigeria on holiday and he was shot by armed robbers ! I went through hell here in Germany without him. I mourned him for 2yrs, stopped going to nigeria because of him but still never gave up on TT and living . That was my decision.
*I’ve been spending my money to represent nigeria lately and I can’t remember the last time I’ve been payed any allowance or the last time i was awarded for winning for my country. I’m very hurt about a lot of things that’s happening in sports in nigeria but because of the love I have for my country, I’m still trying my best to keep on keeping on. That’s my decision .
I was born in the 70s and I know one thing for sure that people born in 70s don’t give up on things easily. We learned ‘ise ni OGUN ise Mura si ise ore mi…….’. . So to some of you discouraging me, you’re just encouraging me indirectly because I’ve gone through a lot in my life that has made me stronger than you. Live your life and allow others do the same. I ain’t giving up on my dreams because of some no life, no dream people. TOKYO 2020, HERE I COME”