10 Aug 2017

Defeat at the hands of colleague Bode Kayode, in his concluding group stage Men’s Singles contest at the 2017 ITTF Challenge Seamaster Nigeria Open on Wednesday 9th August, was not arguably the best way for the most senior player in the whole tournament to end the opening day.

However, for 48 year old Salako Oluyomi it meant second place in the group and progress to the main draw; players finishing in first and second places in each of the 12 groups join the eight seeds in the opening round.

by Olalekan Okusan, ITTF Publications Editor

In his opening match he received a walk-over against Derek Nyoh Ofon, also from Nigeria, before losing to Bode Kayode in four straight games (12-10, 11-5, 11-6, 11-5). One match in the group remains; that between Bode Kayode and Derek Nyoh Ofon, whatever the outcome, it is first place for Bode Kayode with Salako Oluyomi in runners up spot.

Salako Oluyomi is from Jos Plateau in the centre of Nigeria; in that area the most important sports are basketball and football. Table tennis was the sport he wished to pursue but the nature of the area meant that basketball took precedence.

Notably he was a member of the Nigerian Team at the 1987 African Junior Men’s Basketball Championships hosted in Lagos. Nigeria won the event; the outcome was that Salako Oluyomu joined the senior team and remained a member until quitting the sport in 1991.

Now based in Abu Dhabi where he is a teacher; Salako Oluyomi wanted a sport where the chances of injury were minimal, as a boy he had played table tennis, he returned to the sport.

“Having played basketball for several years and winning some laurels for Nigeria at junior level and also making the senior team for  major international competitions, the jumping and regular contacts in the sport forced me to quit in 1991, particularly a recurring knee injury. So as a sportsman, I decided to go back to my first love which is table tennis, it is a sport with less contact. Possible injury in table tennis is less compared to basketball. Sport is life to me and I am enjoying every moment I am spending playing table tennis.” Salako Oluyomu

In particular, Salako Oluyomu is impressed with the resurgence of table tennis in his home country and in particular with this year’s 2017 ITTF Challenge Seamaster Nigeria Open.

“I played in the Qatar Open last year and from what I have been hearing about the Nigeria Open, coupled with the good impression Nigeria is gaining globally, I decided to register and compete this year. I am impressed with the knowledge displayed by the fans in Lagos especially with their support for the players. The Nigeria Open is indeed exceptional in terms of the number of fans and their continuing support to players during matches.” Salako Oluyomu

For Oluyomi, sport is a lifelong activity that must be embraced by young people across the globe.

2017 ITTF Challenge Lagos (Nigeria) Salako Oluyomi

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Day 3 - 2017 ITTF Challenge Seamaster Nigeria Open

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