24 Jul 2018

A first visit to Lagos in 2016, Finland’s Benedek Olah returned home with a career first ITTF World Tour Men’s Singles title; however one year ago it was a quarter-final exit, he was beaten by Hungary’s Marton Szita.

Now once again the 27 year old is on duty, his name appears on the entry list for the forthcoming 2018 ITTF Challenge Seamaster Nigeria Open; proceedings commence with the qualification tournament on Wednesday 8th August.

by Olalekan Okusan, ITTF-Africa Press Officer

Two visits to the country’s capital city, Benedek Olah now looks forward to third.

“The audience during the matches is something to always look forward to and enjoy. Also the fans are willing to show emotions and make some noise during the rallies. Nigeria Open is special compared to what happens in Europe. The lack of backhands by the players is heavily compensated with forehands with a lot of spin coupled with good footwork. Also, their backhand services are also different to what we were used to in Europe.” Benedek Olah

A major strength extolled by Benedek Olah is his backhand, especially in Europe, there are very few players who are better in that skill.

“I am in better form than last year but this year the tournament seems harder with better players which I find super cool. Also the hotel accommodation is amazing with good food. The audience is always lively, while the venue is always full to capacity from the first day and this is what you don’t see in Europe.” Benedek Olah

Undoubtedly, Finland’s leading player is ready for the task ahead, a tournament that is one of the first to be etched on his calendar.

“The Nigeria Open is very special to me, because it was there I won my first international title. I am always willing to return because the conditions are good for me to win and it is not the same like other tournaments. I also meet some new friends and it is always nice to come back and see them. It is always a very hard competition but it has a good atmosphere for any player to excel, I must also admit that Europe is nothing compared to Nigeria in terms of the atmosphere at the venue. It is never the same every year, anything can happen.” Benedek Olah

Currently in the Men’s Singles event, Benedek Olah is the no.3 seed behind Nigeria’s Quadri Aruna and Russia’s Alexey Liventsov; in the Men’s Doubles he partners Hungary’s Tamas Lakatos.

Challenge Series 2018 Nigeria Open Benedek Olah

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Day 3 - 2018 ITTF Challenge Nigeria Open