21 Mar 2017

Delight and despair, those were the emotions endured by the continent of Africa as play continued in the first round of the Men’s Singles event at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games on the afternoon of Sunday 7th August.

It was success for Nigeria’s Quadri Aruna, for Egypt’s Omar Assar it was excruciating in pain.

by Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Editor

Quadri Aruna, the no.27 seed, accounted for the Slovak Republic’s Wang Yang in five games (11-7, 7-11, 11-7, 11-9, 11-6), before in a duel of high drama with the passionate crowd totally captivated, Omar Assar surrendered a 5-0 lead in the seventh game to suffer defeat at the hands of Ukraine’s Kou Lei (11-5, 9-11, 13-11, 9-11, 7-11, 12-10, 11-8).

Difficult to Read Spin

First match to have to play Wang Yang; that was really so very difficult”, said Quadri Aruna. “You can never be sure, I find it difficult to read the spin on the ball when he defends and I make mistakes; then of course, sometimes he will attack with his forehand.”

Difficult but Quadri Aruna responded to the challenge and although he may have felt uncomfortable at times, he did control the contest.

“I have played him twice before and both times I lost”, concluded Quadri Aruna who on the biggest stage of all had won.


Success for Quadri Aruna who was never in serious danger but that was not the situation for Kou Lei. He escaped from Alcatraz!

“Every game was close; recently I have not played many matches, so today when I played I didn’t play clever”, said Kou Lei. “In the seventh game when I was down five-nil; it was a case of putting the ball on the table, I think Omar became too anxious, he was trying to win too quickly and at the important moments he made mistakes.”

The win recorded by Omar Assar was as status advised; he was the no.28 seed.

Seeds Prevail

It was the same for Russia’s Alexander Shibaev as matches in the top half of the draw in the second round of the Men’s Singles event came to a conclusion but not for Austria’s Robert Gardos.

Alexander Shibaev, the no.18 seed, beat Poland’s Jakub Dyjas (11-9, 11-8, 11-8, 11-9); Robert Gardos, the no.31 seed, experienced defeat at the hands of Romania’s Ovidiu Ionescu (11-9, 5-11, 12-10, 16-14, 11-7).

Rio 2016 Rio Men's News

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