Olalekan Okusan, ITTF-Africa Press Officer
He finished in first place in his group ahead of Bulgaria’s Petyo Krastev and Lithuania’s Valdas Martinkus, before in the preliminary round losing with honour; he was beaten by DPR Korea’s Choe Il but he extended his worthy adversary to six games (12-10, 9-11, 13-11, 7-11, 11-6, 11-8).
Notably, later in 2015 at the DPR Korea Open in Pyongyang, Choe Il won the Men’s Singles title.
It was a most creditable performance by Saheed Idowu and which gave him great heart.
“My experience in China is still fresh in my memory because I played very well to qualify from the group to the knockout round of the preliminary stage. Attending World Championships is not about winning or losing alone, it is all about gaining experience and learning from the top class players. Most of the top players usually attend the World Championships; for players like me, it affords an opportunity to watch them even if I don’t play against them”, Saheed Idowu
Presently Saheed Idowu plies his trade with Ponta Do Pargo in the Portuguese League; he is listed in eighth place in the averages, his club being in second place behind Sporting Lisbon.
Now looking ahead, he will lead Congo Brazzaville at the forthcoming Liebherr 2017 World Championships in Düsseldorf.
“I am really looking forward to my first competition in Germany. I visited Germany in 2014, not to compete, just to visit; this time, I am going there to play in one of top countries in table tennis with great record in the world. I am in good form for the Championship and I am going there with two things in mind. I want to improve my world ranking by ensuring that I win my matches from the preliminary stage; winning any match in such competition rubs off positively on one’s rating in the world. The second thought is that I am going there to learn from the top players. I pick up new skills watching some of these top players playing at a World Championships”, Saheed Idowu
Apart from the quality of players expected in Germany for the tournament, Saheed Idowu believes the atmosphere created by the German fans will add to the occasion.
“I believe all eyes will be on African players this year, having seen what Quadri Aruna of Nigeria did at the Rio Olympic Games coupled with the performance of Omar Assar of Egypt. I expect a lot from my compatriots from Africa. Players like Omar Assar and Quadri Aruna are all in good shape now and I am sure we will all be aiming to make an impact in Germany. I also learned Quadri Aruna is very popular among the German fans based on his 2014 World Cup feat coupled and with his win over Timo Boll at Rio in Brazil. I can’t wait to compete in Germany where table tennis is loved”, Saheed Idowu
The Liebherr 2017 World Championships commences on Monday 29th May and concludes on Monday 5th June.