by Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Editor
Most certainly it was a fine effort in Baku but just over one month later at the Liebherr 2017 World Championships in Düsseldorf, it was arguably an even more impressive performance.
Against expectations he finished in first place in his initial stage group ahead of Romania’s Cristian Pletea and Malta’s Daniel Bajada. Progress was halted by Chile’s Gustavo Gomez but the 22 year old could depart the German city more than pleased with his efforts.
Now Olajide Omotayo is seeking to repeat that form on home soil.
He spoke to Olalekan Okusan, the ITTF Africa Press Officer
“I am in good form at present because I have been training very hard after the World Championships. I have not missed my training in the last two months while I increased my schedule with training and a pep talk from Quadri Aruna.
Prior to this, I have trained every day apart from the weekends with my doubles partner, Ojo Onaolapo; this has given me hope that I am going to achieve something from the Nigeria Open this year.
The top players in the competition are world class but in table tennis anything is possible. I am looking forward to qualifying from the preliminary stage to the main draw, which I believe is possible.
After that, I am also looking beyond the last 32 where I finished last year; this year, my game has improved coupled with the support of Quadri Aruna who has been teaching me some tactics. Also, I think I have prepared very well for this tournament and without mincing words, my target is to win the Men’s Singles. I have also realized that table tennis is not won by ranking but by what you can do on the table in a particular match.
I think I must commend the organizers of this competition for always bringing innovation to the tournament every year. This year, we have quality players coupled with an improvement in the number of the countries. This is good for the players in terms of helping us in our world ranking.”