The African Table Tennis Federation (ATTF) has described Quadri Aruna as a trailblazer in table tennis following the feat achieved by the Nigerian at the 2021 ITTF World Table Tennis Championships held in Houston, Texas, United States.
Aruna has continued to exceed expectations with his performance at major international competitions and improved his game in Houston to become the first African to make it to the quarterfinal stage in the history of the world championships.
He was unlucky in the quarter-finals, losing 4-2 to Sweden’s Truls Moregard in a match he was tipped as favourite to win. Moregard created more upset by beating the respected Timo Bol 4-3 to reach the final of the tournament.
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The Nigerian was named the World Table Tennis Player in 2014. He went on to become the first African to reach the quarterfinal stage at the Olympic Games and ITTF World Cup, and in Houston, he set a new African record as the first African player to make it to the last eight.
The 33-year-old two-time Nigeria Open champion has been hailed for his conduct on and off the table during the Houston tournament which put the continent on the world table tennis map.
ATTF President, Khaled El-Salhy, said Aruna has continually broken the barrier for African players with his outstanding performance that has continued to inspire a lot of players across the globe.
“I am so proud of the super performance of Quadri Aruna here in 2021 WTTC – Houston. He is always breaking the records. And as one of the top African players participating in the World Championships, he reached the quarter final stage for the first time by any player from Africa. He is always working hard to improve himself and he has the quality to compete against world top stars in any major competition,” he said.
He added: “Aruna is a table tennis icon for Africa and a good role model to all our young players to emulate.”
Apart from Aruna’s feat, the ATTF boss described the city of Houston as a historic place for Africa with the elections of two African representatives – Wahid Oshodi of Nigeria and Alaa Meshref of Egypt as Executive Vice Presidents of ITTF.
“Houston will remain a historical WTTC event for Africa after the great achievement at the AGM where Africa secured two slots in the ITTF Executive Committee (EC) and this was followed by the excellent result achieved by Quadri Aruna after reaching the quarterfinal as the first African player,” El-Salhy added.