by Olalekan Okusan, ITTF-Africa Press Officer
Away from the global stage, the reason has been education; he has just completed one year studying management at New York University in the United States.
“Yes this is my first ever appearance on the ITTF professional platform; I would like to thank the Table Tennis Federation of India for giving me this opportunity.” Mudit Dani
An opportunity and it is an opportunity to play in a tournament that has an increasing reputation.
“Talking to Indian players who played at last year’s Nigeria Open, I heard that it is one of the best events to play in; the stands are full of loud and enthusiastic supporters that appreciate and understand table tennis. They are extremely proud of their Nigerian players but also show a lot of love and support to international players; something that is not so common at other world events. In short, they make you feel warm and encourage you to do your best. I can’t wait to play in front of them.” Mudit Dani
It is a step higher for Mudit Dani, who in June was an avid follower of the recent Ultimate Table Tennis in his home country.
“Thanks to the Table Tennis Federation of India, I represented India at 16 World Junior Circuit events; overall in singles, doubles and teams events I won 20 medals, three gold, five silver and 12 bronze. I was ranked as high as number 10 on the ITTF World Junior Boys’ Standings and qualified twice for the ITTF World Junior Circuit Grand Finals.” Mudit Dani
Undoubtedly standards in India are rising, a fact endorsed by the country’s success earlier this year at the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games; now the Asian Games, which commence in Indonesia on Saturday 18th August, looms ever closer.
“With India’s top players preparing for the Asian Games in August, the next few players including some young upcoming players have been given a chance to play at the Nigeria Open. This is the perfect chance for us to prove ourselves on the world platform and gain experience of playing on the senior circuit. I just received a confirmation of my participation a few hours ago; the excitement hasn’t completely sunk in yet. To be very honest, I haven’t gone through the list of players very closely just as yet but I can see that many high ranked players are coming.“ Mudit Dani
It is very much a test for the teenager from Mumbai; a chance to measure himself against high level and more experienced players.
“Finishing on the podium would be a dream in my first senior event but my main aim is to express myself. Just competing and interacting with players I have grown up watching on YouTube and television is going to be a fantastic experience. I think I will be coming in with no expectations; as the famous saying goes “expectation is the mother of all frustration.” Being my first senior event, I just hope to be able to bring out my a-game, play hard, yet fairly and soak in this valuable experience. Irrespective of results, this tournament will surely be a very special few days in Lagos. I can’t wait to get started.” Mudit Dani
In the Indian Men’s Team destined for Lagos, Mudit Dani lines up alongside Ronit Bhanja, Sarthak Ghandi, Sourav Saha and Abishek Yadav.