by Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Editor (Interview: Olalekan Okusan)
He endeared himself to the hearts of the German crowd; now at the Liebherr 2017 World Championships when he starts his Men’s Singles quest on Wednesday 31st May, he will be one of the players in focus.
Popular because of his immense sincerity and athletic approach, the long powerful forehand in the guise of Atanda Musa, typical Nigerian but at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games did he dent his popularity in Germany? Remember, he beat Timo Boll in the fourth round!
It would seem it has been quite the opposite; a fact endorsed by Senegal’s Sow Hamidou, a player who competes in the fourth division of the German Bundesliga.
“Prior to the Rio 2016 Olympic Games, Quadri Aruna was very popular amongst the Germans and when he defeated Timo Boll in Rio, his popularity grew and I can tell you that a lot of Germans are coming to Düsseldorf to watch the Nigerian. He has remained the most popular African in Europe.” Sow Hamidou
Outstanding performances and perhaps he has cause to thank Germany? At the Liebherr 2014 Men’s World Cup, his coach was Martin Adomeit.
“When Aruna defeated Timo Boll at the Rio Olympic Games, a lot of German journalists came to inquire about him from me because they knew I coached him during the 2014 World Cup when he made it the quarter-final round. They all wanted to know how he trained and where he lived as I was in Nigeria for months to lead the team to the 2015 African Games in Congo Brazzaville. Many Germans are in Düsseldorf to watch Aruna because he has shown that he is one of the best in the world and I hope and believe he will live up to expectations in Düsseldorf. The city is unique for him because this was the same city that shot him into the limelight; eventually to be named the 2014 ITTF Star Award.” Martin Adomeit.
In Düsseldorf, Quadri Aruna is the no.30 seed.