by Olalekan Okusan, ITTF-African Press Officer
Nevertheless, the door is not closed; moreover, Khalid El-Salhy is confident that Quadri Aruna will be present in Japan’s capital city. There are still options.
“For sure the participation of Quadri Aruna in the Olympic Games is very important to the African Table Tennis Federation, as the top African ranked player; he is a player who can give a super performance in such special events as he did in the last edition in Rio 2016.
Normally he would have qualified in the African Qualification Tournament, unfortunately he could not continue due to his sudden injury during the third stage of group matches.
Now the situation is that we have fulfilled two qualification stages, team qualification and continental qualification; the African Table Tennis Federation, should work hard together with the Nigerian Table Tennis Federation for the coming stages of qualification.” Khalid El-Salhy
The next step for Quadri Aruna is the ITTF World Singles Qualification Tournament to be held in Doha from Thursday 28th to Sunday 31st May, from which a minimum of two players and a maximum of eight will qualify. Following the conclusion of play in Doha, at least one player will gain a Tokyo 2020 place via the Olympic World ranking current at the time.
“I completely believe that a top player like Quadri Aruna has a very big chance to join the African qualifiers through one of the remaining two stages of qualification due to his ranking and a super performance whenever he recovers from his injury soon.
I have to admit that Quadri Aruna is a special top player in Africa and with his current ITTF ranking making him among the top 20; his performances have been shown worldwide in all previous world, Olympic, continental and sanctioned events during the recent years. I think he cannot afford to miss the Olympic Games this year.” Khalid El-Salhy
At the moment, Olajide Omotayo remains the only Nigerian to qualify for the men’s singles event in Tokyo; a National Olympic Committee is eligible for a maximum of two players.