After making the semi-final 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 fulfil his potential.
On his way to the last four, Omotayo humbled tournament’s number three seed – Egypt’s Mohammed El-Beiali 4-1 but the former national junior champion admitted that he would not be carried away by the feat but continue to work hard to measure up with the standard set by Aruna Quadri and Segun Toriola at global level.
“As long as 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 and giving me the opportunity despite my early exit at Nigeria Open,” he said.
Omotayo who now trains in Germany admitted that playing against Aruna Quadri in the semi-final has also 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 and this will surely help me a lot in boosting my confidence,” he added.
Being his second appearance at the senior African championships, Omotayo said 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 semi-final is really a big motivation. I will use this result to push myself, work harder and continue to believe in myself,” said Omotayo.
The African championships semi-finalist will be competing at the 2018 Belgium Open later in the year is however hoping for sponsors that will help him to attend more competitions.
“My next competition is the Belgium Open and now I have the privilege to practice in Germany with a Bundesliga team and 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 improve in as much I continue to work hard.
“For now I’m not getting any support from any corporate body but I am only getting assistance from the former President of NTTF, Wahid Oshodi and may God continue to bless and enrich him more. In the last two years, 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 easy but God has been good to me,” Omotayo said.
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’m also hoping to get a sponsor too because going for tournaments 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 remarked.