by Olalekan Okusan, ITTF Africa, Press Officer
The 21 year old beat Aliaksandr Khanin of Belarus in his opening contest in seven games (11-5, 11-9, 9-11, 8-11, 1-11, 15-13, 11-9) but on his second visit to the table, he was beaten by Russia’s Fedor Kuzmin in six games (11-9, 7-11, 12-14, 11-5, 12-10, 11-5).
“I have learned a lot from the Hungarian Open, I was able to watch so many top players with different styles. I also had the privileged to practise with Quadri Aruna during the tournament. The most important lesson I learned is that I can be whatever I want to be if I don’t give up on myself. All I need is more hard work and to remain focus for me to reach my goals”, Olajide Omotayo
Alas for Olajide Omotayo in the concluding match in the group, Aliaksandr Khanin overcame Fedor Kuzmin in four straight games (11-1, 11-6, 11-9, 11-6). Thus on games ratio it was first place for Aliaksandr Khanin (7:4), followed by Olajide Omotayo (6:5) and Fedor Kuzmin (4:6).
“Hungary was very unique as some top players featured in the competition but my cherished moment was watching Quadri Aruna. I noticed that he plays with quality each time and he hit the ball hard as he can and this is what I have really picked up from him”, Olajide Omotayo
Second place in the group was a most creditable achievement; especially the win recorded against Aliaksandr Khanin was one of note; presently Aliaksandr Khanin is listed at no.259 on the Men’s World Rankings, Olajide Omotayo is at no.599.
“My first match was a little difficult because the feeling and atmosphere were so different from other tournaments. I was leading two-nil, before my opponent levelled two-two. I had the advantage because I was the one serving last but at the same time I was lucky. I must admit that this victory meant a lot to me”,
One win, one loss but common factor. Olajide Omotayo learned from the experience.
“Some of the mistakes I need to correct are my receiving, service as well as other technical aspect of my game. Having watched and played against some of the top players, I think my game will be different in my next tournaments. I am eagerly looking forward to my next tournament and this is going to be another test for me, I hope to play very hard and give 100 percent”, Olajide Omotayo
Motivated, Olajide Omotayo hopes to compete in the international tournaments to be staged in Luxembourg, Slovenia and the Czech Republic.