by Olalekan Okusan and Simon Daish
The prestige of the Men’s World Cup
A young man looking to break through on the international stage, an exciting opportunity arrived in 2009 when Quadri Aruna, aged 21 at the time, sealed qualification to his first ITTF Men’s World Cup in the Russian capital of Moscow.
Finishing in the runner up spot in the Intercontinental Cup, Quadri was pleased to have achieved one of his dreams of competing against the very best for one of the sport’s most prestigious trophies:
“It is the dream of every player to compete at the World Cup and I have been privileged to be part of the tournament since 2009. It is a tournament reserved for a few across the globe and its uniqueness makes it a delight for players, because it affords you the opportunity to play against the best players in the world. My experience in the competition has been awesome and I will always be eager and work hard to feature in the event.”
Quadri had to wait a further five years before his second Men’s World Cup outing; however, it proved well worth the wait!
Düsseldorf, the city of dreams
The so-called ‘outsider’ in Group D of the 2014 event, Quadri defied expectations in Düsseldorf, topping his group with victories over Japan’s Kenta Matsudaira and Russia’s Alexander Shibaev. Following up with an outstanding win against Hong Kong China’s Tang Peng (7-11, 11-9, 12-10, 11-8, 9-11, 11-3), Quadri was through to the quarter-finals, the first African player to achieve the feat!
His name written down in the history books, the young Nigerian continued to delight spectators in an incredible match with World and Olympic champion Zhang Jike. Pushing the Chinese icon right down to the wire, Quadri only narrowly missed out in a six-game epic (6-11, 11-7, 11-4, 11-7, 8-11, 11-8). For Quadri, 2014 was a defining year in her professional journey:
“2014 was the year that it is almost impossible to forget in my career. It’s the year I got to the quarter-finals of the World Cup and I climbed up to the 30th spot on World Rankings. It was also memorable because I won the ITTF Star Award as well as the Star Point of the Year!”
A landmark achievement and a steppingstone to greatness, Quadri is now one of the most recognisable and respected figures in table tennis. Talk about a watershed moment!
Excitement building for #RESTART
Six years on from his unforgettable campaign in Düsseldorf, Quadri is preparing to do it all over again at the Dishang 2020 ITTF Men’s World Cup in Weihai, China.
Securing his spot at the World Cup courtesy of his runner up finish at the 2020 ITTF Africa Top 16 Cup in February, Quadri is now just a handful of weeks away from returning to the very stage that propelled him to stardom, and promises to give it his all at the season-crowning events:
“I am very happy and excited about #RESTART and I am looking forward to it with the hope of doing well. My aim in China is to do very well; be a good ambassador for my country and my sponsors. I know it is not going to be easy, but I hope I can give my best against the best.”
Quadri’s involvement in #RESTART action doesn’t end there with the Nigerian star also set to make an appearance at the 2020 ITTF Finals in Zhengzhou.