Olajide Omotayo is among the four Nigerians and two Egyptians shortlisted to represent the continent at this year’s International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF) World Tour Hungary Open.
The meet serves off next week in Budapest between January 19 and 22.
The 21-year-old former junior star made his senior debut with the Nigerian team at last year’s ITTF African Championship in Morocco.
His round of 32-encounter against Omar Assar of Egypt in the men’s singles gave an insight into the quality of the young Nigerian to the extent that Omar Assar confirmed the quality of the player.
However, Omotayo’s journey to the senior cadre started in 2008 in Alexandria, Egypt when as a teenager he was part of the Nigerian team to the African Junior Championships.
He has been consistent as a cadet and junior player for Nigeria that in his last junior tournament for Nigeria at the 2013 World Junior Championship in Morocco, he led the boys’ team where he played an exciting match against American Kanak Jha.
Explaining what he expect at the championship in Hungary, Omotayo said: “I am happy and motivated going to my first ITTF Tour outside Nigeria. This looks like a breakthrough for me, and a chance to compete with top players in the world. I hope to gain more experience there and improve my ranking, which is all I need to become a top player.”
Already, he had confirmed his participation in three other ITTF World Tours this year – Hungarian, Slovenian and Nigerian Opens, with the hope of sealing a place among the best in the land.
“Apart from the three World Tours I had already confirmed my participation but I am still planning to attend more if possible. I believe my participation in this competition will help me get good result and stepping up in the game remains my target.
“In the Nigerian team, there are so many good players and I know it is really going to be a hard one as I count myself lucky to be in the team which has the combination of experience of Segun Toriola and youthfulness of Aruna Quadri. I want to do everything possible to retain my place in the team my spot by attending World Tours and training harder and harder,” he said.