Twelve year-old Abayomi Animashaun made headline at the 2015 ITTF World Tour tagged Lagos Open in the U-21 men’s singles.

Despite his inability to progress to the knockout stage of the competition, Animashaun stole the show ahead of top players following his brilliant display coupled with his comportment on table.

He became journalists’ delight during interview and his beautiful performance against top players endeared him to the heart of many.

Now, Animashaun has been listed among the 10-man Nigerian team to the ITTF World Junior Circuit (WJC) tagged Egypt Junior and Cadet Open holding at the October 6 Hall in Giza, Cairo on June 8 to 12.

“This is my first international competition as a junior player and this is also my first time of flying out of Nigeria for a competition. I am still excited about my selection because I have been looking forward to this kind of opportunity. For me it is a privilege to be chosen in a country of 200million people to represent Nigeria in such competition. I must also make use of this rare chance to prove my worth and also make family and country proud in Egypt,” he said.

Animashaun, a student of Bestline District College in Ado Ekiti, Southwest region of Nigeria has become an instant celebrity among his schoolmates. “Since some of schoolmates some my names in the national newspapers as one of the 10 players representing Nigeria in Egypt, they have been looking up to me as a star. It has really made me famous in my school and for me I won’t allow this to derail my dream of doing well in Egypt.

In the last one month, Animashaun has been undergoing intensive training under one of the coaches that will lead the team to Egypt, Bode Ajayi. “My coach has been training us after the national competition held in Abuja where I won the cadet event. I believe the training will help me to do well and when we get to the national camp in Lagos, we will continue with the training. In Egypt, I am confidence that I can win medal and my optimism was based on the quality of players in the team,” Animashaun said.

Animashaun will want to emulate his idol, Aruna Quadri. “Aruna Quadri is my idol because he has a good forehand and I want to emulate him by working on my forehand as this is my strength. I hope I can step into the shoe of Quadri with what he has been able to achieve for Nigeria and Africa. He is such a good player that we love because of his humility and discipline on and off the table,” the teenager admitted.

Like the teenage sensation, African Youth Games Champion, Olasunkanmi Oginni is also shaping up for the tournament, but what is paramount to the junior sensation is to conquer the boasting Egyptians.

“I heard that when we could not make it to the Mauritius Open and the African Junior Championship in April this year, the Egyptians dominated the event. But this time around, we are going to their home and we can show them that it will not be business as usual. In Africa, I think teams like Egypt, Morocco and Tunisia are our main threats while teams from Asia will also posed major challenge. But we are fully ready and hope to do well and make our country proud. We also want to use the tournament to shoot up our ranking in Africa and in the world,” Oginni said.

Oginni, who narrowly missed out from the World Youth Olympics during the African qualifiers in Egypt last year is still lamenting this, saying, “I want to go back to Cairo to right the wrong that befell me during the World Youth Olympics qualifiers,” he added.

Another debutant, Amadi Omeh, who recently won a junior national championship, is eagerly looking forward for his first international outing. “I am so excited to be among the players that will be in Egypt. I did not believe I could be selected after winning the national championship but when my name was listed, I was so happy and I have been working hard with my coach to ensure that I justify my inclusion,” the 15 year-old said.