by Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Editor
Play commences in Saarbrücken, Germany on Saturday 1st October and concludes on Monday 1st October.
Quadri Aruna speaks to Olalekan Okusan
Quadri Aruna spoke to Olalekan Okusan, the Press Officer for the African Table Tennis Federation
“The World Cup is so special because it is an invitational tournament based on qualification. I am always happy whenever I qualified for the tournament because it is simply not an easy task to have qualified from Africa in the midst of the top quality players from the continent.
Playing in the World Cup always is a rare opportunity which comes once in a while because before I qualified for the 2014 edition, I had waited for five years; my first appearance was in 2009 in Russia
I am not under any kind of pressure to play in Germany again because I am now getting used to playing under pressure and as a matter of fact I am going to Germany to enjoy myself without any kind of pressure.
Statistics showed that I am not one of the favourites for the podium finish but similarly I am not really going to be playing without confidence as I always believe strongly in my capability. I am praying for a favourable draw that will favour me and if God answer my prayer to be on a good side of the draw, I believe that surprising the world more than I have done in the past is possible.
It is not going to be an easy task for anyone but with God’s favour on my side. It is very possible to perform beyond expectations. I am also hoping for the best ever feeling during the championship. As I am preparing very well and I believe that the most important thing is to have good feeling during the tournament.
Just like my previous tournaments’ preparation, I am preparing so much better now than before because I am aware that all eyes are going to be on me in Germany due to my performance in Rio but this is not going to put any kind of pressure on me.
In terms of my current world ranking status, I can’t say I have reached my target because I really don’t know what the future holds for me in terms of results but I will be very happy if I can go some more steps further in world ranking. I know with more hard work and God’s favour, breaking into top 20 is very possible any moment from now and I pray that God will answer my prayer.
To be ranked 25 in the world is more than a dream come true, I really can’t say how it was possible to achieve such feat but in the same way, I can say boldly that I have God’s favour, and my hard work really materialised. I am somehow fulfilled but I still believe that 25th is not going to be my best ever ranking status. I can also say that seeing myself ranked 25th is one of my career happiest moments.