I want to be in world’s top 50 – Omo­tayo

The Punch - - SPORTS - ’Tosin Oluwalowo

Nige­rian ta­ble ten­nis star, Ola­jide Omo­tayo, has stated his de­sire to break into the top 50 ranked play­ers in the world in 2020.

In an in­ter­view with our cor­re­spon­dent, Omo­tayo said he wants to build on his achieve­ments in 2019, which he de­scribed as his best year ever, by gain­ing more grounds.

Omo­tayo sur­passed all ex­pec­ta­tions by win­ning the gold medal at the Africa Games in Ra­bat, Morocco, de­feat­ing three for­mer cham­pi­ons Se­gun To­ri­ola, Ahmed Saleh and Quadri Aruna on his way to clinch­ing the ti­tle.

He also spoke about his de­sire to rep­re­sent Nige­ria at more tour­na­ments and bring back home more lau­rels.

“2019 was a break­through year for me and I want to thank the Nige­rian Ta­ble Ten­nis Fed­er­a­tion for al­ways be­ing there for me, sup­port­ing me and my fam­ily,” Omo­tayo told The PUNCH.

“I know there are still a lot out there for me to achieve and this year 2020 is the Olympic year for ath­letes and the NTTF team have not qual­i­fied for the Olympics, so, we are go­ing to

Por­tu­gal this month to par­tic­i­pate in the qual­i­fi­ca­tion tour­na­ment and hope­fully, we will come out suc­cess­ful.

“I am also go­ing to put in more work, now, I am ranked 86th in the world, which means I need to stay more fo­cused and prac­tise more. I need to at­tend many tour­na­ments and play so many pro-tours this year. I’m hop­ing to im­prove my stan­dard, and by the end of this year, I am tar­get­ing to be in the top 50 in the world.

“I am ready for 2020; 2019 was a year I won’t for­get in my life be­cause I won the big­gest ti­tle in Africa. That was even my first time at­tend­ing the tour­na­ment. Since I was young, I had been hop­ing to par­tic­i­pate at the Africa Games and the Olympics and here we are, I had my first op­por­tu­nity and I went there to win the ti­tle.

“It was re­ally a big one for me, and I am re­ally happy and I am proud of my­self. This year, it’s the Olympic sea­son, and I will be happy if I can qual­ify for the Olympics and make Nige­ria proud in Ja­pan,” he added.

The qual­i­fi­ca­tion tour­na­ment for the Olympics will hold in Porto, Por­tu­gal from Jan­uary 22 to 26.

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