by Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Editor
Quarter-finalist in the Men’s Singles event at the Seamaster 2017 ITTF World Tour Hybiome Austrian Open; in Liège, he lines up alongside Nigeria’s Quadri Aruna, the player against whom he experienced defeat earlier in the year in the ITTF-Africa Cup.
It is his second appearance in the Liebherr Men’s World Cup; he made his debut in 2015 in Halmstad when qualifying for the main draw; in the opening round he was beaten by the champion elect, China’s Ma Long.
He spoke to Olalekan Okusan, the ITTF-Africa Press Officer
“It’s a different feeling, normally one player used to qualify from Africa and this year I had the World Cup as one of my targets for 2017 and since I lost the African Cup to the strong Quadri Aruna, it was always my priority and my hope that I need to qualify through the hard way.
My qualification is a proof of Africa’s success in the last few years internationally. Quadri Aruna and I were talking about that and we were thinking that we should try our best to both qualify through the world ranking and this means we have to maintain our status in the world ranking from the beginning to the end of every year.
Before the tournament, my target is to keep improving my footwork to be able to perform well in Belgium with stability in all matches, I have learned a lot from Austria Open and I need to fix all my mistakes.
In 2015, I had a big chance to finish at the top of my group which makes the draw a bit easier. This year my focus will be on good start. I am sure Aruna and I can go far. I am in no doubt of this. Quadri Aruna performed very well in the competition in 2014 by reaching the quarter-final, so I believe we can do better this year.
Living and practising in Bremen is a golden opportunity for me. There is a chance to improve every single day and with my coach, Christian Tamas and my teammates, we have tough daily training. I can see clearly that I am improving.
My priority is to be fit mentally and physically to be able to perform well in Belgium.”