by Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Editor
Against the odds in Rio de Janeiro, he beat the Slovak Republic’s Wang Yang, Chinese Taipei’s Chuang Chih-Yuan and Germany’s Timo Boll before losing to China’s champion elect, Ma Long at the quarter-final stage.
Alas in Saarbrücken it was quite the reverse scenario; the leading name in the first phase group he was beaten by both Singapore’s Gao Ning and by Sweden’s Pär Gerell.
“I can say that I keep learning tournament after tournament, most players are working hard just like I am also working hard; the lessons I learned in Germany remain personal to me and I will surely work on my mistakes and bounce back positively in future tournaments”, said Quadri Aruna when speaking to Olalekan Okusan, the Press Officer for the African Table Tennis Federation.
“I am the African best in terms of ranking but I really don’t see myself as the best player in the continent because I strongly believe that I am just one of the best in Africa”, added Quadri Aruna.
Currently practising in Portugal, Quadri Aruna is presently named at no.28 on the Men’s World Rankings; the next in line is Egypt’s Omar Assar who stands at no.56.
“I will keep working harder and harder to maintain my status as the best player from the continent,” added Quadri Aruna. “I have started preparation for the ITTF-African Senior Championships; the event serves as the qualification for World Team Cup and we cannot afford to lose the slot again to Egypt.”
A patriotic Quadri Aruna; alongside the vastly experienced Segun Toriola, he is key to Nigerian success in a Men’s Team event.
“Egypt has represented the continent in the World Team Cup for the past five years”, continued Quadri Aruna. “It is time to prove ourselves again against the Egyptians and qualify ahead of them for the World Team Cup; just like we did at the African Games in Brazzaville, which gave us an edge to qualify ahead of them for the Rio Olympic Games team event.”
At the African Games in Congo Brazzaville, Nigeria beat Egypt by three matches to two in the Men’s Team final. Segun Toriola beat both Mohamed El-Beiali and Omar Assar; Quadri Aruna accounted for Mohamed El-Beiali in the vital deciding fifth match of the fixture.
Same again in Agadir; maybe the outcome depends on Quadri Aruna but which form will be replicated in the Moroccan city? Will it be the Rio de Janeiro Saarbrücken?