The Table Tennis Association of Thailand has invited Ondo State-born table tennis player, Mati Taiwo, to represent Nigeria in the U- 5 and U-18 training camp and SET Thailand Junior Cadet Open Championships.
The Coach of Ondo State Table Tennis Association, Dotun Omoniyi, made the disclousre in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Friday in Akure.
According to Omoniyi, the training camp will hold between May 6 and May 13, while the SET Thailand Junior Cadet Open Championships will come up on May 15 and May 19 in Bangkok, Thailand.
The coach said that Taiwo was invited to Thailand based on his brilliant performance in the African Junior championships in Ghana.
“The Ghana competition was a qualifier for Africa, World Junior Championships and World Cadet Championships. Only one player will qualify for each country, while four will represent Africa,” he said.
Omoniyi added that 16 players were initially invited by ITTF for the competition in Thailand, but after Mati Taiwo’s good performance in Ghana his name was later included, that is why the invitation came a little bit late,” he said.
He said Taiwo had represented Nigeria in 2017 in Egypt and won the U-15 singles and Hope single boys, saying he was the U-15 champion and number two in U-18 in Africa.
The Nigeria national U-15 coach therefore, solicited more support from the state government to help groom more talents.
He thanked the Gov. Oluwarotimi Akeredolu-led administration for helping them to renovate the Table Tennis Hall which, he said, had aided their performances in every competition0.
“But as Oliver Twist, we want more financially from the government to help us fast-track the visa and other logistics for the championships,” he added.
He said that before they could embark on the trip to Thailand, they needed surety, clearance from Police and NDLEA which had not been easy, noting that the Nigeria Table Tennis Federation (NTTF) had already catered for the ticket.
Omoniyi noted that Ondo State was blessed with talented players, such as Ojo Onaolapo, who is now in the U.S. under the ITTF scholarship and Amadi Omeh that won 2015 World Junior Cadet Championships in Cairo; all these boys are our players that we groomed from the grassroots to international level.
“We never buy already made players, we produce them from the grassroots to the international level,” he added.