Before departing Nigeria to Oman, Salako Oluyomi love sport but his undying passion for basketball and football put his interest for table tennis on hold.

Particularly for a young lad growing up in the Northern part of Nigeria – Jos in Plateau, football and basketball were the sports for the boys and young Oluyomi decided to embrace basketball and this took him to be part of the Nigeria team to the 1987 African Junior Men’s Basketball Championship (AJUBBA), hosted in Lagos, Nigeria. As a member of the victorious team that claimed the trophy that year, Oluyomi got a call-up to the senior national team for several events until he quit the sport in 1991.

The teacher now based in Abu Dhabi however, wanted a sport that would prevent him from getting injured and the game that came to his mind was his first love – table tennis.

Now in his 40s, Oluyomi still find joy in playing table tennis and this was what promoted him to start featuring in ITTF World Tour and Challenge Series.

After losing his first game at the ITTF Nigeria Open holding in Lagos, the trained teacher believes table tennis has kept him fitter and vibrant.

“Having played basketball for several years and winning some laurels for Nigeria at junior level and also making the senior team to major international competitions, the jump and regular contacts in the sport forced me to quit in 1991, particularly a recurring knee injury. So as a sportsman, I decided to go back to my first love which is table tennis, which is a sport with less contact. The injury in table tennis is less compared to basketball. Sports is life to me and I am enjoying every moment I am spending playing table tennis,” he said.

Oluyomi is particularly impressed with the resurgence of table tennis in his home country – Nigeria which he said has put Nigeria on the world map with the staging of the annual Nigeria Open. “I featured in Qatar Open last year and from what I have been hearing about Nigeria Open coupled with the kind of impression at global level about the growth of the sport in Nigeria, I decided to register and compete this year. I am impressed with the knowledge displayed by the fans in Lagos especially with their support to the players and this for me makes it more exceptional compared to the big prize money Qatar Open that is less of glamour. Nigeria Open is indeed exceptional in terms of number of fans and with their continue support to players during matches,” he added.
For Oluyomi, sports is a lifelong activity that must be embraced by young people across the globe.