By Solomon Nwoke
After his failed bid to win the ITTF Africa cup qualifier in Lagos, top seed, Quadri Aruna bounces back to the 2019 ITTF Challenge Plus Nigeria Open also in Lagos, which commenced yesterday with high expectations of retaining his title.
Aruna starts his quest on the third day of action, Friday 9th August, the day that marks his 31st birthday; he will want to make sure that this weekend he enjoys more than just one celebration!
Speaking Wednesday in Lagos, he said, “last weekend was not as expected, but that’s what the game is all about. Nothing is really for sure. However, I promise to be a good ambassador and will strive to defend my title and make my fans happy once again”.
At the Africa Cup, Quadri Aruna experienced a real battle on his way to the last four, at the quarter-final stage against Senegal’s Ibrahima Diaw he needed the full seven games to ensure victory, only emerging successful by the minimal two-point margin in the decider (9-11, 11-4, 11-3, 7-11, 11-2, 7-11, 12-10).
The name of Ibrahima Diaw also appears on the entry list for the 2019 ITTF Challenge Plus Nigeria Open, the two could well experience another epic battle but first of all the 27 year old, who has honed his skills in France, must qualify. Results achieved this year, notably reaching the third round in Thailand, suggests that the initial target will be achieved.
The run of events at the Africa Cup meant that Quadri Aruna missed the early present of a ticket to the 2019 ITTF Men’s World Cup in Chengdu, China. Quadri will be the man to beat in Lagos; now maybe the perfect time for the Nigerian to use this second chance for attaining gold.