Nigeria’s Olufunke Oshonaike has been listed among the speakers for the International Table Tennis Federation’s (ITTF) online conference to mark International Women’s Day on Monday March 8, 2021.

The six-time Olympian will represent the interest of the athletes alongside Peruvian player Mónica Liyau to complete the panel.

The former African Champion is committed to promoting gender equality through Table Tennis and helps those in need in Nigeria through her charity, while Liyau established her own foundation to use Table Tennis as a tool to reduce inequality for children in extreme poverty.

Also, International Paralympic Committee (IPC) Women in Sport Committee chair Rita van Driel is among the speakers announced.

The online conference will focus on the current status of gender equality and how to use table tennis as a tool for female empowerment. It will be open to all and will feature an open question and answer session.

Van Driel, who is also Agitos Foundation President, is set to be joined by ITTF Gender Commissioner Hajera Kajee and International Olympic Committee (IOC) Women in Sports Commission member Ingmar De Vos.

Petra Sörling, the only female ITTF Executive Committee member and a Vice-President of the organisation, will contribute with insights from table tennis’s governing body.

A number of other online events have been organised by the ITTF for International Women’s Day.

This includes a global workshop called ‘Girls & Women in Sport for All’ and a dedicated ‘Masters of Skill’ training lesson.

The ITTF has aimed to make progress in gender equality in recent years, implementing equal prize money for men and women at ITTF and World Table Tennis events, and introducing a module on gender within an online administration course.

The governing body will also dedicate World Table Tennis Day on April 6 to women and girls.

Supporters of the campaign to encourage female participation in Table Tennis are encouraged to follow the hashtags #FEMpowerment #InspirationalWomen and #FEMCampaign on Twitter.

International Women’s Day takes place on March 8 each year.

Yemi Galadima is a Senior Sportswriter and Editor at Making of Champions. She has a bias for Athletics and was previously a Sports Reporter at the National Mirror, where she hosted a weekly column ‘On the Track with Yemi Olus’ for over two years. A self-acclaimed ‘athletics junkie’, she has covered national and international events live, such as the African Athletics Championships, African Games, Olympics and World Athletics Championships. She also freelances for World Athletics.


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