One of Nigeria’s top male table tennis players, Olajide Omotayo, is hoping to break the first-round exit jinx at the WTT Contender Lagos.
Omotayo has never gone beyond the first round at past table tennis competitions in Lagos and in Durban, South Africa, at the just concluded WTT Contender he was also ousted in the first round by Englishman, Paul Drinkhall.
The 27-year-old and African Games champion will begin his quest when the draws begin on Thursday, 15 June and he says his goal is to get past the first round.
He said “Training has been good, I had a good season this year in France and I hope I can advance to the next round because every time I come to Nigeria I always lose in the first round. Hopefully, this one is going to be a different story. With God by my side, everything is possible”.
Meanwhile, asides from the 75,000 USD prize up for grabs, players at the WTT Contender Lagos will have the opportunity to pick a maximum of 400 ranking points for singles winners ahead of the 2024 Paris Olympic Games.
Currently ranked 93rd in the world, Omotayo hopes he can gather enough points to improve his chances of making it to a second Olympic Games appearance.
According to him, “With this new ranking, you have to win tournaments and I haven’t been on the scene for more than one year now and I have lost a lot of points and this is the reason I came down to Nigeria to come to fight for some points and hopefully everything will work out for me.”
After the first day of qualifying, only 6 of the 19 male Nigerian players make it to round two.
The qualifying round continues on Tuesday with round 2 games to end on June 14 where eight qualifiers each in the male and female categories will join the 24 players already listed in the main draw, which serves off on June 15, based on their world ratings.
In round two of qualifying, Nigeria’s Emmanuel Augustine will take on Oba Kizito of Ivory Coast, Denmark’s Anders Lind, a quarterfinalist at the WTT Contender Durban will face Seongil Jang of Japan, England’s Samuel Walker come up against Jeet Chandra.
Joe Seyfried Vs Harmeet Desai
Jules Rolland Vs Adeola Oloruntade;
Deni Kozul Vs Peng Wang-Wei;
Woo Hyeonggyu Vs Rilwan Akanbi;
Oh Junsung Vs Niagol Stoyanov;
Ahmed Bello Vs Park Gyuhyeon;
Abdulbasit Abdulfatai Vs Hugo Descamps;
Huang Yan-Cheng Vs Sani Shetty;
Vincent Picard Vs Amadi Omeh;
Borgar Haug Vs Mihai Bobocica.