Olajide Omotayo is going to make his first Olympic appearance for Nigeria in Tokyo.

Olajide Omotayo gave an inkling of what he has in store again at the 12th African Games as the Nigerian defeated one of the continent’s most celebrated stars – Egypt’s Ahmed Saleh 4-3 in the quarterfinal of men’s singles to berth in the semifinal of the Table Tennis event.

Omotayo was all over the Egyptian in the encounter which had the fans glued to their seats all through.

The Nigerian combined his backhand with forehand smoothly and this confused the Egyptian who had to surrender to the youthful star.

Asides Omotayo, Aruna Quadri also walloped Congo Brazzaville’s Saheed Idowu 4-0 to berth in the last four and set up a rematch of the ITTF Africa Cup against Egypt’s Omar Assar on Thursday, August 29.

Seven-time Olympian Segun Toriola was at his very best when he also beat Egypt’s Khalid Assar 4-3 to set up a semifinal clash against Omotayo.

An elated Omotayo said: “I am so excited that in my first African Games, I made it to the semifinal. I knew that it was going to be a tough game against one of the most experienced African players and 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.”

In the women’s event, Olufunke Oshonaike played her last game after going down 3-4 to Egypt’s Farah Abdel-Aziz. Dina Meshref also beat Algeria’s Lynda Logrhaibi 4-0, while Edem Offiong humbled Egypt’s Reem El-Eraky. Cameroun’s Sarah Hanffou berthed in the last four after beating Egypt’s Yousra Helmy.

Offiong will battle Hanffou while Meshref will face her compatriot – Abdel-Aziz in the second semifinal on Thursday August 29.

Yemi Galadima is a Senior Sportswriter and Editor at Making of Champions. She has a bias for Athletics and was previously a Sports Reporter at the National Mirror, where she hosted a weekly column ‘On the Track with Yemi Olus’ for over two years. A self-acclaimed ‘athletics junkie’, she has covered national and international events live, such as the African Athletics Championships, African Games, Olympics and World Athletics Championships. She also freelances for World Athletics.


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