by Olalekan Okusan, ITTF-Africa Press Officer
A new venture but Quadri Aruna is no stranger to German soil. Memorably in 2014 he reached the quarter-final stage of Liebherr Men’s World Cup in Düsseldorf, the first African to achieve the feat in the history of the tournament that first saw the light of day in 1980.
Equally he has posed Germany problems; at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games, in the fourth round he beat Timo Boll to reserve a quarter-final place.
“Winning against Timo on such a big stage has actually helped my career. Now I see this win as the past; I am looking forward to give my best in the near future, for Nigeria, Fulda, my sponsors and fans all over the world.” Quadri Aruna
Notable performances but Quadri Aruna is aware of the task ahead of him in Germany.
“For years many people are aware that the German League is the toughest and strongest in Europe; for myself I have no doubt about that. I am fully aware of what I am going to be facing with the start of season 2020/21.
The Portuguese league is entirely different from the German league, there is an enormous difference regarding the level. For me, the German league is of the highest level, while the Portuguese league is a normal one but not too bad. The German Bundesliga has several players rated top 100 or even top 10 in the world. For this reason, the level is high and the competition is tough.” Quadri Aruna
Challenging times ahead but times that are to be relished.
“Without doubt, my forehand is my strongest weapon but these days my backhand is improving and it’s not bad at all. If I want to survive in the German league, I still have to improve my backhand these days, to make my game more balanced; I accept this challenge.” Quadri Aruna
Certainly the forehand is his strength, a long and dynamic stroke, it makes Quadri Aruna a delight to watch.
“There will always be a lot of pressure before and during the matches. So I hope to manage the situation in a good manner and be a good ambassador for my team and for the whole league.” Quadri Aruna
A new team but he will line up alongside familiar faces.
“Yes, of course! During the World Tours I have practised with Ruwen Filus, he is a great player and one of the best defenders in the world. I also met Meng Fanbo on World Tours, he has lots of talent. I am certain we will all become a great family in the Bundesliga. Just like every other team we want to be the champion. My goal is to be a great ambassador for my team in the league and to always give 100 per cent.” Quadri Aruna
Ready for next season but as with everyone else, in 2020 he has been forced to adjust, forced to change plans.
“The coronavirus is a big shock and surprise for the whole world. We all hope there will be a solution as soon as possible. Health is wealth and more priority has to be given to our health. That’s why the IOC has made the right decision by postponing the Olympic Games.” Quadri Aruna.
A realistic approach; regarding the future for Africa, it is a positive approach.
“Table tennis in Africa has actually developed a lot. The level of play is way better compared to some years ago. I hope this evolution will continue and African players will improve year by year.” Quadri Aruna.