OFFIONG Edem < Back  
Sport Table Tennis
CGA Nigeria   
Gender Women
Born 31 Dec 1986 in Calabar, NGR
Height1.50 m
Human Interest
Further Personal Information
Family Child Precious Victor
Residence Calabar, NGR
Occupation Public Servant
Languages English
Higher education Physical Education - University of Uyo: Nigeria
Sport Specific Information
When and where did you begin this sport? She began playing table tennis at age nine on her grandmother's dinner table.
Why this sport? She was originally a street footballer, but chose table tennis due to the lower risk of injury. "I started playing table tennis on my grandmother's dining table with my sister. One day, I decided to go elsewhere to play because I was bored playing at home. I paid to play at a tennis centre in our street and I enjoyed it. I was a regular player there and I became popular in the neighbourhood because I was winning games."
Club / Team Cross River State: Calabar, NGR
Name of coach Richard Edem; Coco Bassey
Handedness Right
General Interest
Nicknames Mabzy ["I got this name from France, where I was playing in the French league."] (Athlete, 20 Jul 2021)
Hobbies Reading, listening to music, football. (Athlete, 20 Jul 2021)
Most influential person in career Her family. (Athlete, 20 Jul 2021)
Hero / Idol German table tennis player Timo Boll, Chinese table tennis player Zhang Yining. (Athlete, 20 Jul 2021)
Superstitions / Rituals / Beliefs She prays before competitions. (Athlete, 20 Jul 2021)
Sporting philosophy / motto "My philosophy in sport is to place physical health above all other considerations." (Athlete, 20 Jul 2021)
Ambitions To win a medal at the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo. (punchng.com, 04 Oct 2020)
Other information PARENTAL RESISTANCE
When growing up, she said her parents discouraged her from playing table tennis, and punished her when she skipped school to play. "I experienced a lot of resistance from my parents when I started. I could remember then, my father always gave me the beating of my life for skipping school just to play table tennis. He wanted me to go to school and not play the game. I kept on going until I won the women's singles title in the Lagos Star Cup Table Tennis Championships in 2000. I was very optimistic, and each time I went out to play on a street table, I would win myself some cash to eat food at night, and I would bring something home for them too. That was how I managed to make them happy. Honestly, table tennis brought so much to my life and my family's. If I didn't play table tennis, I don't know what would've become of me." (punchng.com, 04 Oct 2020)

NEXT GENERATION
She says more support is needed for table tennis in Nigeria to develop players before the current generation of national players retires. "I know I don't have many more years. That is why I believe that Nigeria needs to invest more in the junior female players because the current senior players will leave a vacuum when we quit. A lot is wrong with the female aspect of the sport in Nigeria, and table tennis as a whole. But the male players are still doing well because they fight a lot and go the extra mile. The female players have to deal with a lot of distractions and without the right support, they lose interest in the sport and lose their form as well. The is talent in Nigeria, but they need to be invested in. After major competitions, which the federation struggles to fund athletes to attend, there are no other events for the home-based players. They merely return to training and that doesn't help them." (punchng.com, 14 Oct 2018)

COMMONWEALTH GAMES
She was disappointed by the Nigerian federation's decision to send only its men's table tennis players to the 2018 Commonwealth Games in Gold Coast, QLD, Australia. "I wasn't happy when I heard that we wouldn't attend the Commonwealth Games, but we have to respect the decision of the federation. They believed our male players would do better than having a team of both male and female players. The men did us proud and we are all happy. [However] we need to attend every competition we can to improve. When players are developed and they have the opportunity of playing frequently, they keep improving, and that in turn fetches medals at major competitions. We have struggled at the Commonwealth Games because there are better players, who attend more tournaments and are better prepared, so they beat us when we meet." (punchng.com, 14 Oct 2018)

FOUNDATION
She founded the Offiong Edem Foundation, which promotes personal development for young people in Nigeria through table tennis. "The aim of this project is to help the children of the streets to achieve their dreams through sport. I want to reach out to all the children across Nigeria to share my experiences and life stories. I want to use this platform to encourage the kids out there, to let them know that they can be whatever they want to be in life." (YouTube channel, 07 Feb 2021; offiongedemfoundation.com, 07 Feb 2021)