Nigerian professional table tennis player, Olajide Omotayo has revealed how depression almost made him dump the ping pong game some years back.
Omotayo, who is based in Italy is making his Olympics debut at the ongoing Tokyo 2020 Olympics🗼 and he’d be playing in the early hours of Saturday (NGA Time).
The Nigerian who is ranked 92nd on the International Table Tennis Federation male world ranking, said that he battled depression as an athlete and also considered quiting Table Tennis.
“It took me four years to get to the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games. A few years ago, I was battling depression with the determination to give up on playing table tennis and relocated to New York where my mom and sister live.
“After watching the Rio 2016 Olympics in Brazil, it made me think twice about giving up. So, I picked myself up and got back in the game. But behind my happy, smiling face lie many struggles and setbacks I had to overcome. Facing my struggles head on taught me how to be more resilient and fight for my dreams. Facing my challenges allowed me to grow as a person and as a table tennis player.
“Today, I could not be prouder to be in Tokyo training for my first match in the 2020 Olympic Games, and representing my beloved country.
“My wish is that my story will inspire and motivate so many souls out there. I promise that whatever you set your mind to, yes, you can achieve it. I am a living testimony and proof if I can do it, you can too.
“Quadri Aruna’s match after defeating Timo Boll of Germany at the Rio 2016 Olympics motivated me in a big way to get back in the game. And I have made many sacrifices to get here today. I have not laid eyes on my mom ever since I left New York four years ago. And while it hurts deeply and I think of her and miss her every single day, I know I would not be where I am now without massive sacrifice. Hard work works guys.”
Omotayo thanked members of his family and friends for standing by him, saying “My gratitude and love go to my family and friends who have been supporting me since the beginning of my journey. Thanks also to Aruna Quadri and his wife for always being there to encourage me with words and action, the Nigerian table tennis federation for the privilege to represent my beloved country, which I dearly love so much.
“And a very special thank you to my fans all over the globe, I love you.”