by Olalekan Okusan, ITTF Africa, Press Officer
He did; moreover, luck smiled on Brian Mutua, he was drawn in the same first stage group as Quadri Aruna.
In the Kasarani Hall, as he entered the court for his concluding match on the opening day of play, Thursday 1st March, he received a rousing ovation from his supporters. Moreover, when the match concluded, there was a warm hand-shake from the very humble and polite Quadri Aruna. It was a moment to savour. There was no air of disappointment that he had suffered defeat (11-8, 11-5, 11-7).
“I knew about Quadri Aruna because of the 2014 World Cup and also when he was named the Star Player in 2015, I admire him and I followed all his matches across the globe. Among the things that attracted me to the Nigerian was his powerful forehand and his diligence. He is a player that is respected globally as an African star. He has continued to put the continent on the world map with his excellent performances. He has been inspirational to younger players and I enjoyed every moment of the match.” Brian Mutua
Fourth place in the group was the end result for Brian Mutua but playing Quadri Aruna was precious and has motivated the young man in his quest to become one of the best in Africa.
“Quadri Aruna asked whether I enjoyed the match. I told him I enjoyed event shot in the encounter. I think from him, I learned that I need to work on my footwork as well as improve my speed. I also noticed that most of the players rely on attack to win points which is another lesson for me. I must say that I enjoyed myself in the competition and I hope in the next few years I can do better than today. I am privileged to be part of this competition. I am grateful to the Kenya Table Tennis Association for their guidance and support; most importantly for selecting me to be part of this prestigious competition. Brian Mutua
Imposingly, Quadri Aruna finished in first place in the group ahead of Congo Brazzaville’s Saheed Idowu; they now advance to the quarter-finals. Third place was the lot of Cameroon’s Derek Nyoh Ofon; alongside Brian Mutua, he now competes in the consolation event for the lower places.