By Olalekan Okusan
Aruna competed in the Dishang 2020 ITTF Men’s World Cup and Bank of Communications ITTF Finals; Meshref in the Dishang 2020 ITTF Women’s World Cup, Weihai and Zhengzhou being the respective destinations.
They were two of the three players from Africa on duty in China, the other being Ahmed Ali Saleh, from Egypt.
Despite not making it beyond the preliminary round at the World Cup and first round at the ITTF Finals, Aruna enjoyed every moment he spent on the return to international tournament.
“I’m very happy and excited to be here after about eight months. Everyone really wants to play here and I must say thank you to China for giving us this opportunity to restart again. For me, it’s my first time of playing in the ITTF Finals and I feel fulfilled and excited because I have never qualified to play in the Finals. Playing in this tournament is like a dream come true.” Quadri Aruna
He described China as a familiar scene for him.
“I played here like three times at different tournaments, so I’m actually used to conditions here in China and I’m always happy to come here to play. I feel happy to be here.” Quadri Aruna
Like Aruna, Meshref believes the chance to compete again at international level was a rare opportunity which she cherished.
“I was very happy to get the chance to compete again. I really enjoyed the experience. However, it was a bit difficult and different than the other competitions we used to play as we had to do several quarantines before the competition. Also, we weren’t allowed to get out of the “bubble” which was also a different and new experience. The Chinese were very helpful and friendly, while the reception was perfect. Everything was so well organized.” Dina Meshref