The head coach of Ondo State Table Tennis Team, Omoniyi Adedotun told www.aclsports.com that Ondo state is a breeding ground for potential champions.
He revealed that Ondo state has consistently dominated the national championship with players groomed from scratch in the state.
The National cadet coach said Nigeria players stand better chances of dominating the world if they attend championships regularly.
Omoniyi Adedotun shared some of his experiences with www.aclsports.com in this exclusive interview
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Aclsports: How will you describe the performance of your players at the 2022 National Sports Festival in Asaba, Delta State?
Adedotun: I am proud of my players for putting their best in at the 2022 National Sports Festival in Asaba, Delta State. Ondo got into the men’s team finals but lost to host Delta state by 2 to 3 sets (major scores) due to the absence of our player, Mati Tawio. Do not forget that Ondo State won the gold medal (men’s team) at the 2020 National Sports Festival in Edo state.
In the men’s singles event, Fagbamila Akinwale got to men’s singles finals at the 2020 National Sports Festival in Edo 2020 and Amadi Omeh got men’s singles Finals and won the Gold. In Asaba, Fagbamila Akinwale lost in the finals and settled for silver which is a good result that proves our consistency. We won the men’s doubles gold and I am happy that table tennis is the first sport to put Ondo state in the medal table at Asaba 2022.
Aclsports: What has been your motivating factor since you began your coaching career?
Adedotun: I get motivated whenever I see players I nurtured from grassroots compete with other players at National and International Championships perform well. This has continually boosted my morale as a coach to put in my best and invest financially in the players because I believe they have what it takes to be independent in the near future.
Aclsports: You have been known for grooming young players across the world, what informed you of moulding players from scratch?
Adedotun: When I became a coach in 2003, Table Tennis had gone down in Ondo State. I was worried because there are a lot of challenges, I was therefore determined to focus on the technical side of coaching and the political side of it. I put my resources, time, energy, determination together and promise myself I will never look for already made players. Since then i believe in grassroot to nurture them to stardom
Aclsports: Can you list some of the players you groomed from nothing to National prominence?
Adedotun: Since I started this program, I have groomed a lot of players that have represented Nigeria at the African Youth and Senior Championships, ITTF World Youth Championship, African Games as well as Commonwealth Games. Some of my players includes; Ojo Onaolapo, Oyeniyan Boboye, Fagbamila Akinwale, Oladiran Joshua, Ogini Olasunkanmi, Mati Taiwo, Omeh Amadi, Onoja Agnes to mention but a few.
Aclsports: What do you think can be done in order to sustain this program you are doing in Akure, Ondo State?
Adedotun: Ondo state government are doing their best but they need to do more in times of Table Tennis infrastructure, equipment, employment of players, release funds in time for us to attend more championships both national and international. The State Government has to make sure our zonal areas in Ondo State function by employing more coaches and improving infrastructure in the five zonal offices.
Aclsports: As an experienced coach, what are Nigeria’s chances in the cadet and youth championship in ITTF (Africa and World)?
Adedotun: In this country, we possess some of the best young players in Africa. Despite the challenges faced, I strongly believe our chances at the various Cadet, Youth and Senior championships mostly in Africa are bright and the players will have better chances in the world if our cadets and youth can attend more championships both in Africa and beyond.
Aclsports: Can you list the international tournaments you have attended as a national coach?
Adedotun: To God be the glory, for the great things he has done for me since I broke into the national scene as a coach. I have attended the following international tournaments as a national team coach.
– 2009 Africa Youth U21 Championship in Rabat, Morocco
– 2009 Africa Senior Cup in Rabat, Morocco
– 2010 ITTF Junior and Cadet Open Circuit in Taiyuan, China
– 2010 Hong Kong Junior & Cadet Open ITTF Premium Junior Circuit in Hong kong
– 1st Youth Olympic Games in 2010 at Singapore
– 2010 ITTF Africa Junior & Cadet championship in Cape Town, South Africa
– 2013 ITTF Africa Junior and Cadet Championship
– 2013 World Junior Table Tennis Championship
– 2013 Africa Cadet coach at the World Cadet Challenge in Slovenia
– 2014 Africa Cadet Coach at World Cadet Challenge in Bridgetown, Barbados 2014
– 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, Scotland
– 2016 ITTF Africa Junior and Cadet Championship in Tiziozou, Algeria
– 2017 ITTF World Junior & Cadet Circuit in Sharm El sheikh, Egypt
– 2019 Africa Cadet team coach at World Cadet Challenge in Wladyslawowo, Poland
– 2021 ITTF Africa Championship in Yaounde, Cameroon
– 2022 Commonwealth Games in Birmingham, United kingdom