I want to be world’s best table tennis player –Adebakin

Sports, like every other career, come with younger practitioners looking up to older ones they hoped to be like and even surpass.

For 12-year-old Tobi Adebakin, that role model is no other but Africa’s number one table tennis player Quadri Aruna.

The JSS 2 pupil of State Junior High School, Alimosho, Lagos was in ecstatic mood when the opportunity to meet the man he had always watched and wanted to be like finally arrived at the first edition of the Aruna Cadet Invitational Championships last October.

“When I heard Quadri Aruna was organising a competition for cadet players, I just wanted to be there and see him and tell him how he inspires me,” Aruna told PUNCH Sports Extra.

“I had always wanted to play like him, I have watched many of his games and I love the way he plays. He used to attack very well and he knows how to target the table, these are what I pick as my strengths too.”

Not only did the young Adebakin see his idol, he won the boys’ singles, claiming his first title in the process.

“I feel very happy, it was not easy, but I tried my best. It was a great opportunity to emerge the winner at the first edition of this competition. I thank Aruna for wanting the best for young players in Nigeria,” Adebakin said.

The youngster said his table tennis journey was aided by his parents, after he was discovered by a coach Olawale Rabiu, while playing outside his house.

“I started playing table tennis at the age of five on a table in front of my house. So, one man came one day and saw us playing, he told my father and he allowed him to take me, from there I started,” Adebakin said.

“I chose table tennis ahead of other sports because I enjoy playing it. As my coach kept training me, I developed more interest, so I continued playing.”

Read Also
GOtv Boxing: Oladosu vows to damage Adebakin’s face
On what he wants to become in future, Adebakin said while he wanted to emulate, his greatest desire was to become the best player in the world – which has never been achieved by any African player.

“I will love to win many titles personally and for Nigeria. Also, my greatest desire is to become the best player in the world. I know this is hard because of the Chinese players, but with God, I know it is possible,” he added.

Aruna, who watched as Adebakin claimed his first title, said his desire was to have Nigeria produce many stars frequently.

“While growing up, we heard about Atanda Musa, it was after 10 years that we started hearing about Segun Toriola and then another 10 years after he had been reigning for so long that we started hearing about Quadri Aruna.

“This means we are producing very good players every decade. I want us to be producing about five good players every five years. So, this is going to be a continuous tournament which will take the format of a table tennis league in future,” Aruna told PUNCH Sports Extra.