As a junior player, 22-year-old Olajide Omotayo was a delight to watch and after working his way into the national team coupled with his scintillating performance at the 2017 World Championships in Germany, the Italy-based star is growing in confidence ahead of the 2017 ITTF Nigeria Open ‘Lagos 2017’. As an outsider, Olajide Omotayo fought […]
The best African players will on Wednesday May 31, begin their campaign for honours in the men and women singles event of the 2017 ITTF World Championships holding in Dusseldorf, Germany. From the best ranked African – Aruna Quadri, the journey to the podium will ignite the venue of the championship as the 2014 ITTF […]
When 21-year-old Olajide Omotayo made his senior debut with the Nigerian team at the 2016 ITTF African Championship in Morocco, it was obvious that the Italy-based star is ready to rub shoulders with stars. His round of 32 encounter against Omar Assar of Egypt in the men’s singles gave an insight into the quality of […]
Defending champion, Nigeria’s Ojo Onaolapo, Olajide Omotyao and three other Nigerians as well as three Egyptians secured their places in the quarterfinal stage of the ongoing International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF) World Tour, Lagos Open holding at the Molade Okoya-Thomas Hall of Teslim Balogun Stadium.
Onaolapo, who is seeded number one had an easy passage to the last eight, as he overrun compatriot, Joshun Oladiran 11-4, 11-5, 11-6, while Italy-based Omotayo also surmounted Michael Obayomi 11-6, 11-7, 10-12, 11-6 to set up a quarterfinal battle against compatriot, Akinwale Fagbamila, who had accounted for the exit of Sunday Akomolafe in the round of 16 encounter.
Joseph Osedunkwu also suffered defeat in the hand of Olasunkanmi Oginni, who is expected to tackle Omotayo in the last eight.
Egypt’s Ahmed Mabrouk sent his compatriot packing in the last 16 battle of two brothers with 11-9, 11-8, 5-11, 11-7 win over Sayed Ramadan.
Nigeria’s Azeez Solanke was no match to Egypt’s Mahmoud Fathy as the teenager star fell 6-11, 4-11, 1-11 to his superior opponent.
Experienced former national junior player, Azeez Ogunlade was made to raise his game as he managed to beat Babatunde Babafemi 6-11, 11-5, 11-4, 11-9.
However the entertaining match between Nigeria’s Nurudeen Hassan and Egypt’s Shady Magdy became the star match in the category as unknown Hassan gave the African junior champion a run for his money during the clash.
Like a true Nigerian, Hassan fought well but his skills cannot match the superb display by the North African as he surrendered the Magdy 13-11, 1-11, 10-12, 9-11.
In the quarterfinal pairing, Onaolapo will battle Oginni, Mabrouk confronts Fathy, while Omotayo and Fagbamila will slug it out.
Familiar foe, Ogunlade and Magdy will again battle themselves for a place in the last four of the event.
A confident Magdy said he is familiar with Ogunlade having played against him at cadet and junior tournaments.
One of Nigeria’s shinning stars in the game of Table Tennis Olajide Omotayo on Tuesday was sent packing by his compatriot, Akinwale Fagbamila in the round of 16 of the boys’ U-21 event of the International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF) Lagos World Tour holding at the Molade Okoya-Thomas Hall of Teslim Balogun Stadium, Lagos, Nigeria.
The Italy-based player had on Monday suffered a defeat in the hand of a Tunisian player in the men’s qualification round but managed to progress to the main draw after a nail-biting 3-2 victory over Azeez Ogunlade.
But against a more-determined Fagbamila, Omotayo failed to shine as he fell 3-2 to exit the event.
A disappointed Omotayo said he hopes to take consolation in the singles event when he clashed with another player from Egypt.
Speaking after the encounter, Omotayo said: “I did not start very well today but when I realized that I had to recover, I leveled up but while I was leading 5-2 in the final game, I don’t just know what happened for me to lose in such manner.
“I have not been playing very well in this competition and my confidence is waning, I think I will try my best in the Men’s Singles hopefully I will progress. I think I am not having a good tournament,” he lamented.
For Fagbamila, beating Omotayo was a victory to cherish:
“When I played in the preliminaries, I did not really play well but I managed to progress to the round of 16. But then I decided to train hard until late on Monday and this really put me in good form for today’s match. I started well against Omotayo but I thought we were playing best of seven until we changed that’s when I realized we were playing best of five,” he said.
“My backhand and forehand really worked for me in the match and I was sure that I will win the match. Being the second time i would be playing Omotayo, today’s victory was a revenge of the loss I suffered in our first meeting. Hopefully, I am optimistic that I can go far in this competition as I am in fine form,” he added.
Also yesterday, Nigeria’s Ayo Omotara claimed the needed victory against Cameroun’s Jague Alain Patrick to berth in the main draw.
“The game has been tough for me…,facing best of the best from another country. This is my first time of playing in an international competition of this standard.
But this is my home and qualifying into the rounds of 32, I know I will meet stronger opponents as the game progresses. All I need is to stay focused”.
Players from the 14 countries including host – Nigeria and International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF) officials will start arriving Lagos on Friday June 20, for the Lagos World Tour tagged Nigeria Open.
According to the itinerary of the teams, Singapore’s Jing Yuan Yin will be the first player expected to touch down in Lagos for the four-day tournament.
Others expected are Luxembourg’s Ni Xialian as well as Russia’s duo of Vasilij Filatov and Irina Ermakova.
The eight-man Egyptian team will arrive on Saturday June 21, while others will arrive Lagos on Sunday.
Also, ITTF officials led by African Table Tennis Federation (ATTF), Khaled El-Salhy as well as his deputy, Henri Djombo from Congo Brazzaville will be in Lagos by Sunday.
ITTF Marketing Director, Australia’s Mr. Steve Daintom will also be in Lagos.
The draw for the championship will hold on Sunday, while some top players will be seeded for the competition.
Meanwhile, winners in the men and women singles event will get N.8m each while players that make it to the round of 16 will get cash reward for their efforts.
Semifinalists in the U-21 event will also be rewarded for their efforts.
As a Challenge Series in the ITTF World Tour, players are expected to amass points for their world ranking at the tournament.
Preliminary matches will kick off on Monday June 23, while the main draw will commence on Tuesday June 24.
Nigerian players aiming to be part of the main draw event are now sweating it out across the country with the intention of playing in the elite stage of the championship.
Some of the Nigerian players already in the country for the tournament are Germany-based Funke Oshonaike, Portugal-based Ganiat Olatunde-Aruna, as well as Italy-based Olajide Omotayo.
Over 15 countries including Nigeria will compete in the N8.5m prize money tournament holding at the Molade Okoya-Thomas Hall of the Teslim Balogun Stadium from June 23 to 26.