Olajide Omotayo gave an inkling of what he has in stock again at the 12th African Games as the Nigerian defeated one of the continent’s most celebrated star – Egypt’s Ahmed Saleh – 4-3 in the quarterfinal of men’s singles to berth in the semifinal of table tennis.
Omotayo was all over the Egyptian in the encounter which had the fans glued to their seat throughout the match.
The Nigerian combined his backhand with forehand smoothly and this confused the Egyptian who had to surrendered to the youthful Nigerian star.
Aside 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.
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.
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.
Cameroon’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.
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 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.”