Omotayo Sets African Record At WTT Tournament In Qatar
Written by MaryGift Sunday on March 1, 2021
2019 African Games Champion, Olajide Omotayo, has set a new African record at the first official World Table Tennis (WTT) events after emerging the first African to win a match at the WTT Middle East Hub holding in Doha, Qatar.
Omotayo who is competing in his first international tournament after qualifying for the Tokyo Olympic Games in Tunis last year February began his campaign from the preliminary round alongside other African players from Egypt and Algeria.
Drawn against Kazakhstan’s Alan Kurmangaliyev in the first round of the preliminary round, the Nigerian showed his quality against the European to become the only African player to record a victory on the opening day of the tournament taking place at the Lusail Sports Arena in Doha.
Omotayo, who is among the 298 players representing 66 countries competing for the $200,000 prize money, which is one of the Hub (Contender) at the Middle East Hub and serves as return to the international stage for most of the players.
Despite winning the first game 11-7, Omotayo fell in the second game to 7-11 while in the next two games, he showed his class with 12-10, 11-1 win to record a 3-1 win and set up a second round against the best player in the German Bundesliga, Sweden Anton Kallberg on Monday March 1.
An excited Omotayo described his return to the international tournament as awesome.
“I feel great to be able to play here, having to wait for a year is not really easy but at least everything is getting back to normal. I know the feeling is not fully back because I haven’t played any official match for a year now but it can only get better from here, as time goes on the momentum will be back..
I am also feeling great and I’m happy everyone is following all the instructions given to us in order to be safe, the hall is amazing and I have always loved to play here in Doha and so for me Doha is home,” he said.
Unlike Omotayo, Egypt’s duo of Khaled Assar and Mohammed El-Beiali were not lucky as they were shown the exit by their European counterparts in the preliminary stage.
Assar was shown the exit by Germany’s Ricardo Walter who won 14-12, 11-7, 11-6) while Belarus’ Pavel Platonov bundled out El-Beiali 3-0 (11-5, 12-10, 11-6).
Egypt’s duo of Omar Assar and Ahmed Saleh as well as Senegal’s Ibrahima Diaw and Omotayo will be in action in the second round of the preliminary round on Monday, March 1 while the highest-ranked African in the competition, Quadri Aruna will begin his campaign from the main draw on March 3.
The WTT Contender Series has been designed to provide the perfect setting for some of the world’s leading stars to be challenged by the best up-and-coming players in table tennis.