Fatima Bello during the continental qualifiers in Kigali (Rwanda)

The recent journey of Nigerian table tennis star, Fatima Bello, has been marked by a roller coaster ride, leading up to her chance to be part of Paris 2024. The 27-year-old is making her Olympic debut, and despite her lack of experience, she wants to surprise the world with her talent.

Despite a remarkable performance at the 2023 African Games in Ghana, winning the silver medal, Bello was not satisfied and wanted more. And it was before the continental qualifiers in Kigali (Rwanda), that she openly expressed her intention to participate in Paris 2024. Now, it is a reality.

The young player got the plane ticket to the French capital to represent the African giant, Nigeria, after achieving a great feat. She defeated the Algerian Lynda Loughrabi in the aforementioned qualifiers held in Rwanda.

The young Nigerian's qualification has, undoubtedly, been marked by resilience and determination in tough times like the African Games in Ghana, even though she managed to get second place: "Even when my game was declining, especially in the last tournaments, I never doubted my ability because being part of the Nigerian national team is a strong privilege."

Now, her goal is to play a great role in the Games. In a recent interview with the media in her country, Bello declared that her path to stardom in table tennis was possible thanks to her father and brothers: "I especially thank them for pushing me to be what I am today in table tennis."

Interestingly, when questioned about her origins, the young woman reveals that, at first, "I didn't feel much fixation with table tennis." However, among her family and other teammates, they encouraged her to try. And now she represents her country in one of the sporting events par excellence on the international scene. 

“I am aware of the task ahead of me at the Olympic Games, where there are more stars competing, so I must make an impact.” Knowing the showcase that athletes are subjected to at these types of events, Bello is very confident in herself to carry out a shining performance.

Likewise, with humility as her flag, she also does not forget her friends and more veteran players, who are also responsible for her milestone, and who, according to her, have guided her a lot in recent weeks: “They have been talking to me and advising me.”

Another aspect that is of particular interest to the African table tennis player is the support of her country. According to her statements, one of her main goals is for them to feel “proud on the Olympic stage.”