After making it to the semifinal stage of the men’s singles at the last ITTF African Championships in Mauritius as an unseeded player, Olajide Omotayo believes he is yet to fulfill his potential.
On his way to the last four, Omotayo humbled tournament’s number three seed – Egypt’s Mohammed El-Beiali 4-1. However, the former national junior champion admits he would not be carried away by the achievement. He promise to continue working hard in order to measure up with the standard set by compatriots Aruna Quadri and Segun Toriola at global level.
“I am satisfied with my performance in Mauritius because it has erased the poor outing at the ITTF Nigeria Open. This will also help me to push myself more and work harder now because eyes will now be on me across the world.
“However, I will remain grateful to the Nigeria Table Tennis Federation (NTTF) for believing in me and giving me the opportunity despite my early exit at Nigeria Open,” he says.
‘Facing Aruna Quadri is a confidence-booster’
Also, Omotayo who now trains in Germany concedes playing against Quadri in the semifinal has boosted his confidence going into any tournament.
“Apart from the crucial wins I had in Mauritius, I think I have learnt that believing in yourself means a lot. Because this helped me a lot when I played against the Egyptians and for the first time I had the opportunity to face Aruna Quadri. This will surely help me a lot in boosting my confidence,” he adds.
Being his second appearance at the senior African championships, Omotayo says the feat has really motivated him to aim higher in his career.
“Being my second time participating in the African Championship and getting to the semifinal is really a big motivation. I will use this result to push myself, work harder and continue to believe in myself,” vows Omotayo.
The African championships semifinalist will be competing at the 2018 Belgium Open later in the year. Meanwhile, he is hoping for sponsors that will help him attend more competitions. “My next competition is the Belgium Open and now I have the privilege to practice in Germany with a Bundesliga team. I strongly believe this will help me a lot as they have top ranked players in the team. I am sure with the help of the coach and players, I will mprove, in as much as I continue to work hard.”
Omotayo expresses gratitude to his pillars
“For now, I am not getting any support from any corporate body but I am only getting assistance from the former President of NTTF, Wahid Oshodi. May God continue to bless and enrich him more. In the last two years, I have received kits support from Gewo and Mr. Oshodi. I have been able to add some money too from my pocket to attend some tournaments this year. But I must admit it has not been easy but God has been good to me,” Omotayo notes.
For 2018, Omotayo is dreaming big. “My target is to improve more because without me improving, I won’t be able to win matches. Now, I am motivated and this will really help a lot as I am also hoping to get a sponsor too. Going for tournaments – it is not easy doing it alone. Having a good place to practice now and getting sponsors will let me achieve my aim this year,” he concludes.
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