Quadri Aruni, determination unbridled
Photo By: Atef Alghamery
2012 Olympic Games
He completed the contest wearing just one shoe; he stole the show in the afternoon session of play in the Men’s Singles event at the London 2012 Olympic Games on the afternoon of Saturday 28th July.
Nigeria’s Quadri Aruna, playing his first match in his very first Olympic Games, gave heart and soul to the cause to beat Spain’s Carlos Machado to reserve his place in the second round of proceedings.
He greeted every success with loud vocal cries; his determination contagious. Striving every sinew to execute his powerful forehand topspin at every opportunity, the 23 year old Nigerian upset the seeding as adrenalin gushed through his body faster than the nearby River Thames flows when the flood barriers have been lowered.
Currently listed at no.236 on the Men’s World Rankings, Quadri Aruna ended the hopes of his Spanish adversary, named at no. 80 in the global order, to the delight of his increasing fan club.
Quadri Aruna won in six games (6-11, 11-6, 3-11, 13-11, 11-8).
The success posted by the Nigerian was one of several contests that enthralled the near capacity crowd as proceedings in the first round of the Men’s Singles event took shape.
Latvia’s Matiss Burgis, Ukraine’s Oleksandr Didukh, Egypt’s El-Sayed Lashin, Poland’s Wang Zengyi and the Dominican Republic’s Lin Ju all won spellbinding seven games duels.
Top Half of Draw
In the top half of the draw, Matiss Burgis overcame Canada’s Pierre-Luc Hinse (14-12, 11-2, 7-11, 9-11, 13-11, 15-17, 11-8), Oleksandr Didukh defeated Paraguay’s Marcelo Aguirre (11-7, 7-11, 10-12, 11-4, 11-7, 7-11, 11-9) and El Sayed Lashin ended the hopes of Sweden’s Pär Gerell (7-11, 11-4, 11-8, 12-10, 8-11, 8-11, 11-9).
Tension Packed Duels
Similarly, in the lower half of the draw there were tension packed duels.
Wang Zengyi accounted for Brazil’s Hugo Hoyama (8-11, 11-9, 9-11, 9-11, 11-5, 11-8, 12-19) and Lin Ju overcame DPR Korea’s Kim Song Nam (11-9, 5-11, 11-8, 6-11, 3-11, 13-11, 11-9).
Equally there were notable performances; three in particular.
Indian in Form
India’s 19 year old Soumyajit Ghosh, currently listed at no.206 on the Men’s World Rankings, overcame Brazil’s Gustavo Tsuboi, ranked no.104 in a tense six games duel (11-9, 14-12, 7-11, 12-10, 5-11, 12-10) to reserve his place in round two.
Success for a young player, the other two results of note came from players who have seen it all before; Sweden’s Jörgen Persson and Belgium’s Jean-Michel Saive both recorded victories.
Jörgen Persson accounted for Nigeria’s Segun Toriola (11-8, 11-7, 12-10, 9-11, 11-6); whilst Jean-Michel Saive defeated Serbia’s Marko Jevtovic (11-3, 8-11, 11-7, 11-6, 11-8).
See You in Rio de Janeiro
Defeat for 37 year old Segun Toriola in his sixth Olympic Games but it seem it is not farewell.
"It didn't go so well, I'm a bit disappointed with the result”, he said. "I don't think this will be my last match; I hope to be in Brazil in 2016 for the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro."
Perhaps he’ll have a compatriot to accompany him; a certain Quadri Aruna?
Equally as proceedings commenced in the second round of the Women’s Singles event, there were tension packed duels.
Romania’s Daniela Dodean beat Ukraine’s Tetyana Bilenko (7-11, 8-11, 11-5, 5-11, 11-7, 11-9, 11-2), Poland’s Natalia Partyka overcame Denmark’s Mie Skov (5-11, 11-3, 12-10, 8-11, 9-11, 11-7, 11-9) and Chinese Taipei’s Chen Szu-Yu ended the aspirations of Hungary’s Krisztina Toth in one of the closest matched of the day.
She won 10-12, 7-11, 5-11, 15-13, 11-5, 11-5, 13-11.