From Nigeria to the Welsh League – via a bakery!

Sammy Ogunade has been playing table tennis for over 30 years but it was whilst working in a bakery that his sporting talent came to light, and via the smell of cake mix and the sweet taste of icing sugar a path to the Welsh League was formed.

Sammy was born in Nigeria, where he started playing table tennis at a very young age and was representing his school in tournaments at the age of 12.

He moved to Cardiff in 2010 and was the leading force in the formation of what became the Memory Lane Table Tennis Team.

Under Sammy’s captaincy, the team won the WIS Central Division Cardiff Table Tennis League twice and finished runners-up twice

He also captained the Memory Lane cake team to win the Division 2 League at the Teams’ Championship of Wales in Sophia Gardens before lockdown.

He has continued to be a leading player and inspiration in the Welsh League, playing for the likes of Trehafod and his current club Rhiwbina, which plays in Division 1.

A regular figure at the Cardiff City Table Tennis Club, Sammy has made a number of very successful appearances in the National Welsh Championships at Sophia Gardens.

“I have always enjoyed playing table tennis and I have to thank Memory Lane Cakes, where I used to work, for introducing me to Table Tennis Wales and the Welsh League,” says Sammy.

“We won the Division 2 title twice and finished runners-up twice, which isn’t too bad for a bakery!

“The competition in Wales is very high. One of the nice things is that no matter how good you think you are an opponent always comes along that surprises you and you end up having a fantastic battle with them.

“It’s a fast-moving game so it keeps you fit. I’m fifty-two and there are a lot of good players in Wales in their fifties, but of course you often get to play against people a lot younger and a lot older than you.

“I’ve also met a lot a really nice people across Wales through table tennis. For so many reasons I would recommend the game to anyone!”