I want to make major impact at 2024 Olympics – Fatima Bello

Olympics debutant Fatima Bello has expressed her goal on Wednesday, June 26, to make a significant impact at the upcoming 2024 Paris Olympics.

Bello, who won a silver medal at the 2023 African Games, shared her ambitions in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Lagos, discussing her preparations for the event.

Bello secured her spot to represent Nigeria in the table tennis event at the African qualifiers held in Rwanda.

The 26-year-old earned this achievement by defeating Algeria’s Lynda Loughrabi 4-2 in the final round of qualifiers at BK Arena in Kigali.

During the qualifiers, Bello dominated the first three sets against the Algerian but stumbled as her opponent recovered to claim the fourth and fifth sets. The power forehand specialist then regained control to win the sixth and seventh sets in the best-of-seven match.

Bello credited her journey to stardom in table tennis to the support of her father and siblings.

“Special thanks to my dad and my brother for pushing me hard to be what I am in table tennis today. Initially, I wasn’t very interested in table tennis, but they and other players encouraged me to play, and I did.

“My first experience at the 2022 African Cup was great, though I had to train hard to make a mark in the tournament, which wasn’t easy. Honestly, I didn’t expect to go that far because it was my first major competition,” she said.

Bello emphasized that she is ready to make an impact at the Olympics.

“I am aware of the challenge ahead at the Olympics, where there are more stars competing, and I am not going there just to add to the numbers but to make an impact.

“Many senior players have been advising and supporting me, and I am grateful for their guidance. I am more familiar with the terrain now, having taken a longer route to qualify for the Olympics.

“I thank my coach and teammates for their support in my journey to qualify. For the Olympics, I need to train more to achieve my dream. I need to give myself enough rest to ensure I am in top shape because I want to make my country proud at the Olympics,” she said.

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