When Saheed Idowu made his international debut for his adopted country – Congo Brazzaville at the 2009 World Table Tennis Championship in Yokohama, Japan, he wanted to prove his mettle against the world’s best but his efforts failed to match most of his opponents for him to exit in the preliminary round.

After the 2009 experience, Saheed Idowu has not had it good in most his appearances at the World Championship but in Africa, he made his mark winning U-21 men’s singles and being part of the Congo Brazzaville team to win laurels in continental tournaments.

But at the 2015 World Championship in Suzhou, China, he shone like a star in the preliminary stage where he won all his matches only to lose to North Korea’s CHOE Il 4-2 in the round of 64 of preliminary round of the men’s singles.

However, Saheed Idowu would cherish the moment in China, which he described as his best outing at the global tournament.

“My experience in China still fresh in my memory because I played very well to qualify from the group to the knockout stage of the preliminary stage. Attending world championship is not about winning or losing alone, it is all about gaining experience and learning from the top class players. Most of the top players usually attend the world championships and for players like me it affords me an ample opportunity to watch them even if I don’t play against them in the competition,” he said.

Saheed Idowu plies his trade with Ponta Do Pargo in the Portuguese league and he is ranked eighth in the league while his club occupies second place on the league table behind Sporting Lisbon. And ahead of this year’s World Championships in Dusseldorf, Germany, Saheed Idowu will be leading Congo Brazzaville team to the tournament and he is eagerly looking forward to the global championship with a lot of expectations.

“I am really looking forward to my first competition in Germany. I had visited Germany in 2014 and not to compete but to visit. This time, I am going there to play and playing in Germany, which is one of top countries in table tennis with great record in the world. I am in good form for the championship and I am going there with two things in mind. I want to improve my world ranking by ensuring that I win my matches from the preliminary because winning any match in such competition will surely rub off positively on ones’ rating in the world. On the second thought I am going there to learn from the top players. I most times picked up new skills watching some of these top players playing at the world championship,” he said.

Apart from the quality of players expected in Germany for the tournament, Saheed Idowu believes the atmosphere from what he has heard about the German fans would surely add glamour to the championship.

He however expressed optimism on the performance of African players. “I believe all eyes will be on African players this year having seen what Aruna Quadri of Nigeria did at the Rio Olympic Games coupled with the performance of Omar Assar of Egypt, expect a lot from my compatriots from Africa. Players like Omar Assar and Aruna Quadri are all in good shape now and I am sure we will all be aiming to make impact in Germany. I also leant Aruna Quadri is very popular among the German fans based on his 2014 World Cup feat coupled with his win over Timo Boll at Rio in Brazil. I can’t wait to compete in Germany where table tennis is loved,” the 2015 African Games doubles silver medalist said.