Prior to his election as the President of Nigeria Table Tennis Federation (NTTF) in 2013, Wahid Oshodi has been passionate about table tennis that even as the chairman of the Lagos State Table Tennis Association (LSTTA), he has been devoting his resources and time to the betterment of the sport in Nigeria.

It was under his leadership as LSTTA boss that the likes of Aruna Quadri, Ojo Onaolapo and Seun Ajetunmobi came into limelight.

His commitment to the sport also necessitated his enormous support to the players and this also prompted the players led by Segun Toriola and Funke Oshonaike to convince Oshodi to take charge of the sport nationally. This was why his election was greeted with a lot of excitement across Nigeria.

Since assumption of office, the practicing lawyer has brought a lot of vibrancy to table tennis in Nigeria while Nigeria has also remains in the world map of table tennis.

Besides staging the Lagos Open annually, one thing that Oshodi takes seriously is the welfare of the players and this he has exhibited at various events.

Oshodi who is with the Nigeria’s 10-man team at the ongoing ITTF WJC in Egypt was not bothered with the defeat that Nigeria suffered in the semifinal of the team events, but he took solace in the fact that the most of players have the potential to become world beaters despite taking part in their first international competition.

“So far I am quite impressed with the standard of our players considering this is the first international outing for a large majority of our players. If you also throw into the equation the presence of the more experienced European teams and Africans here I think they are doing quite well. Three bronze medals in the team events is quite a good start even though I think they had very good chances in the junior boys’ and girls’ semi finals but the inexperience of some of the players contributed to their loss. They will surely improve as the tournament moves on. Tournaments like this are very important to enable us test our players against the best in the world so we have a clear idea of what we need to be doing back home,” Oshodi said.

Oshodi, who was recently elected into the board of the Commonwealth Table Tennis Federation (CTTF) believes with more hardwork, the players can make their impact at global level.

“We will go back home listen to the coaches who have accompanied the team and continue to work on improving these youngsters. Two players will be off to China soon along with some of our coaches to attend a training programme with the Chinese National team and play in a tournament there. We must continuously improve the knowledge of the players and of course we need to attend more tournaments of this nature and expose our young players very quickly to the rigours of world class tournament play. We are on the right track. I hope the players will sustain their good start and I believe we still have more opportunities to win laurels here in Egypt,” he said.

He added: “In this regard I must mention our trio of cadet boys’ specially. Amadi Omeh, Abayomi Animashaun and Michael Obayomi are some of the most gifted players I have seen in many years. Their talent is massive and their comportment and discipline stand them out as ones for the future. We need to find the funding to give these young children a chance to develop their precocious gifts. Watching them play encourages me to continue to do more.”

The immediate Lagos State Commissioner for Youth, Sports and Social Development lauded the Egypt Table Tennis Federation (ETTF) for putting up an excellent facility for the WJC.

“The facilities are of a very good standard. The ambience is good and the hotels are also of a very high standard. The ETTF is doing a good job of looking after players and officials. The only drawback is the small number of spectators unlike what we are used to in Lagos. The standard is quite good. The Egyptians have a good pedigree in staging events of this type. They are doing quite well. Of course one or two things could be better but it is important to note that this event get better from year to year,” he said.

On the performance of African teams, he said: “Egypt as always are very strong. Large numbers of boys and girls doing very well. That is not surprising considering that they run a well funded programme at the junior and cadet level. I am also pleasantly surprised to see the improvements being made by other African teams. In the years to come the competitions will be tighter as long as this development