Fresh from an impressive run to the quarterfinals of the recently concluded ITTF Africa Cup where he nearly upset top seed Aruna Quadri in a seven set thriller, 27-year-old Senegalese Ibrahima Diaw says he feels “well prepared to challenge” the best players in the world at the 2019 ITTF Challenge Plus Nigeria Open.
Over 170 players from about 32 countries will be competing at the $60,000 tournament which serves off today at the Molade Okoya-Thomas Indoor Sports Hall at the Teslim Balogun, Stadium in Lagos.
And having served noticed of his red-hot form at the African Cup where he took eventual bronze medalist and local favourite the distance in a gripping quarterfinal encounter, the player who was a member of the French team that won gold at the European Youth Championship in 2008 and only switched to Senegal this year has not hidden his ambition to upset the more established players.
That stated ambition of his to beat the best players at the Lagos tournament have been interpreted by some as a sign of too much confidence but Diaw who commended the level of organisation at the tournament said his self-belief is simply a factor of being well prepared for the tournament.
“I don’t come about confidence, I’ve been prepared a lot for this and this I think was the key of my confidence. I don’t think I’m [too] confident, I just think I’m well prepared because I also practice with some of the best players in the world so, I’m just well prepared to come and to challenge them. I will just go and play matches by matches and see how it will go but I’m confident about my qualities,” Diaw said.