Olajide Omotayo

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Olajide Omotayo
Olajide Omotayo African Olympics Qualification Tournament Tunisia 2020.jpg
Omotayo at the African Olympics Qualification Tournament Tunisia 2020
Personal information
Nickname(s)Jehdor
Born (1995-07-06) 6 July 1995 (age 27)
Lagos, Nigeria
Playing styleOffensive[1]
Highest ranking85 (December 2019)[2]
Current ranking92 (April 2020)[2]
Medal record

Olajide Omotayo Adeyemi (born 6 July 1995, in Lagos, Nigeria) is a Nigerian professional table tennis player based in Italy.[1] He is the youngest of 6 siblings. His peak world ranking to-date was 85. He is currently ranked 92nd in the International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF) male world rankings.[2] He is the current Champion of Africa after defeating Quadri Aruna to win Gold in the Men's Singles at the 2019 African Games, his debut appearance.[3] Olajide is known for his offensive playing style with a strong topspin stroke. In 2017, Olajide secured a five-year sponsorship deal with the German manufacturer of kits, Gewo.[4]

He competed for Nigeria at the 2016 African Championship (doubles event) and 2018 Gold Coast Commonwealth Games in Australia winning Bronze and silver respectively.

His first international appearance for Nigeria was in 2008 as a cadet at the 2008 International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF) African Junior and Cadet Championships which held in Alexandria, Egypt.[5]

In 2019, he was nominated for Nigerian Sportsman of the Year Award by the ITTF.[6]

Early years

Olajide attended Pedro Primary School, Famous, Bariga and later, Morocco Comprehensive High School, Igbobi Yaba, Lagos for his Junior Secondary Education before proceeding to Baptist Senior High School, Obanikoro Palmgroove for his Senior Secondary School Education.

Table tennis career

Olajide started playing Table Tennis at the age of 8. He was introduced to the game by his sister, Omobolanle Omotayo, a one-time national table tennis champion. He started his career playing for a local club, Summer Table Tennis club in his neighbourhood in Somolu Area, Lagos State. He represented his school in the Lagos State Table Tennis Competition for Primary Schools and National School sports Competition at age 9. He started representing Nigeria at International Competitions at 11. In 2008, he represented Nigeria at the All African Junior Table Tennis Championships in Alexandria Egypt where he won Bronze.

He has since then established himself as a key member of Nigeria's senior table Tennis Team at several International Tournaments.

He aspires to get to the Top 50 ranked players in the world.[7]

2015 African Games

Olajide failed to qualify for the 2015 African Games after losing a crucial game during the trials. He couldn't return to his club in Italy at the time and was at the verge of quitting Table Tennis completely. Quadri Aruna's record-breaking qualification for the Rio 2016's Olympic Games quarter-finals gave him hope to fight back.[8][9]

2018 Commonwealth Games

Olajide was one of the five male Table Tennis players selected to represent Nigeria at the 2018 Commonwealth Games. The Nigerian team included Bode Abiodun, Azeez Jamiu, Quadri Aruna, and veteran player, Segun Toriola.

Nigeria won silver at the end of the competition after losing to the Indian Team consisting of Sharath Kamal, Sathiyan Gnanasekaran and Harmeet Desai in the finals.[10]

2018 African Championship in Mauritius

Olajide featured in the 2018 African Championship in Mauritius representing Nigeria. He made it to the semi-finals after beating Togo's Atarou Assou and Angola's Elizandro André. He had a stunning outing as he proceeded to defeat Egypt's no.3 seed, Mohamed El-Beiali and Shady Magdy to make it to the semi-final round. Olajide lost to compatriot Quadri Aruna.[11]

2019 ITTF World Team Cup

The Nigerian Team represented by Quadri Aruna, Olajide Omotayo and Bode Abiodun played against Team China in Group A at the 2019 ITTF Team World Cup. Olajide lost 3–0 to world number 10, Yun-Ju Lin in the game.

In the doubles match, Quadri and Olajide played against Cheng-Ting Liao and Chen Chien-an and lost (2-1). The Nigerian team lost (3-1) overall to exit the 2019 ITTF Team World Cup which held in Tokyo, Japan. Chinese Taipei finished second in the Group while Nigeria exited bagging the third spot.[12]

2019 African Games

At the 2019 African Games which held in Rabat Morocco, Olajide was up against three of the best players in Africa to become the continent's champion. He played against two former champions – Egypt's Ahmed Saleh and Nigeria's Segun Toriola in the quarterfinal and semifinal stages.

The final was a classic with one of his role-models in the game and the then highest ranked African table tennis player, Quadri Aruna. Omotayo raced to the lead with a 3-0 (13-11, 11–9, 16-14). The more experienced Quadri had a good comeback in the 4th and 5th games cutting the lead to 3–2 with 8-11, 13–15. Omotayo scaled through with a 12–10 win to claim his first international Gold medal.

2020 Tokyo Olympics (2021)

Omotayo qualified for Men's Singles at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. The Games were rescheduled to 2021 due to the COVID-19 Pandemic. He was defeated in four (4) straight sets by Tiago Apolónia in the First Round.

See also

References

  1. ^ a b "Player Profile". Table Tennis Guide. ITTF. 2020.
  2. ^ a b c "ITTF Ranking History". Table Tennis Guide. ITTF. 2020.
  3. ^ Okusan, Olalekan (2019). "Remembering Rabat: The 2019 African Games". ITTF Africa Press.
  4. ^ Okusan, Olalekan (2017). "Gewo Sponsorship Deal". ITTF Africa Press.
  5. ^ "Olajide Omotayo Breaking through the Ranks". ThisDay Live. 2019.
  6. ^ Okusan, Olalekan (2019). "Olajide Omotayo nominated for top award". ITTF Africa Press.
  7. ^ Okusan, Olalekan (2019). "OLAJIDE OMOTAYO: MY targets in table tennis". The Nation Online.
  8. ^ Watta, Evelyn (2020). "OLAJIDE OMOTAYO: "ONE BREAKTHROUGH CAN CHANGE YOUR LIFE"". Olympic Channel. Retrieved 5 May 2020.
  9. ^ "INTRODUCING AFRICA'S MOST SUCCESSFUL OLYMPIC TABLE TENNIS PLAYER OF ALL TIME: QUADRI ARUNA". Olympic Channel. 2018. Retrieved 5 May 2020.
  10. ^ Fowowe, Solomon (2018). "Commonwealth Games: Team Nigeria falls in Table Tennis finals, bags silver". The Guardian.
  11. ^ Okusan, Olalekan (2018). "Olajide Omotayo, now more motivated than ever". ITTF Africa Press.
  12. ^ "Nigeria exits 2019 ITTF Team World Cup". TodayNG. 2019. Retrieved 26 April 2020.
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