Nigeria’s Olajide Omotayo, has described his victory in the men’s singles of the 2019 African Games in Morocco as a boost for his career.
Omotayo, on Thurday night in Rabat created an upset in the final when he outplayed reigning African champion, Aruna Quadri 4-2, to win the men’s single crown in his debut at the quadrennial Games.
He had earlier conquered two of the best players in Africa and former champions.
Egypt’s Ahmed Saleh and Nigeria’s Segun Toriola in the quarter-final and semi-final before the conquest of Africa’s best rated player ever, Quadri.
Omotayo began his success story at Rabat 2019 with the demolition of South Africa’s Kurt Lingeveldt 4-0 (11-4, 11-7, 11-9, 12-10).
“I am very happy winning the African Games. I am so proud of myself because this is a big one for my career and it was a good journey for me from the start of this competition having won against some of the best players on the continent,” an elated Omotayo said after the epic final which ended in 13-11, 11-9, 16-14, 8-11, 13-15, 12-10.
Omotayo, had expressed fulfilment after getting to the semi-final of the competition as first timer in the Africa’s version of the Olympics.
“I am so excited that in my first African Games I made it to the semi-final. I knew that it was going to be a tough match against one of the most experienced African players. I just ensured that I did not get angry on table because he did everything to upset me but I was determined. I was calm and I am happy that this is a good outing for me in the singles,” Omotayo had declared after his victory over the tournament’s number two seed, Ali Saleh in the game which ended in 11-7, 10-12, 10-12, 11-6, 11-7, 7-11, 11-6.
Meanwhile, Dina Meshref retained the women’s singles title to become the first female Egyptian to win the title back-to-back.
Meshref spanked Cameroun’s Sarah Hanffou 4-0 11-7, 11-4, 11-2, 11-7, in the final, Nigeria’s Edem Offiong it will be recalled lost to Hanffou in the semi-final.