After settling for bronze medal in his maiden appearance at the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham, Isau Ogunkunle has admitted that his life has taken a turn for the better since he embraced para table tennis.
Ogunkunle who defeated India’s Raj Alagar 3-1 (11-9, 4-11, 11-6, 11-8) in the men’s classes 3-5 of para table tennis event to make it to the podium at the 22nd edition of the games told NationSport that he would forever cherish the medal being the first at international level.
The Tokyo 2020 Paralympian said: “Without table tennis, I don’t even know what I would have become. I don’t even know where I will be as only God knows that but with table tennis, I have achieved a lot. “Table tennis changed my life totally and has corrected what is not correct in my life; correct what is not normal in my stability. It has corrected a lot of things in my life. Apart from helping me to be healthy, it has also put food on my table and has given me the resources to cater for my family,” The former shoe cobbler said.
He however, described the bronze medal as golden while lamenting his inability to clinch the gold medal after losing the semifinal 0-3 (4-11, 11-13, 9-11) to eventual gold medalist England’s Jack Hunter-Spivey. “I thank almighty God that this is my first Commonwealth Games, and I won a medal because my determination was to win gold medal but at least, I won bronze. It is a medal, it is a golden bronze and I thank God for that,” Ogunkunle said.
He admitted that settling for the bronze medal was not without its hassles. “The bronze medal looked easy because I have played with my opponent’s kind of rubber seven years ago and so his racket is not different from the one I had played against. But the results should not be used to assess the outcome of the match. It was not an easy match to win.”
“I dedicate the medal to God, my coach and my golden mother, Mrs Onikepo and I dedicate this gold bronze to them,” he added.