For being the first African table tennis player to make it to the quarter-final stage of the men’s singles at the Olympic Games, Nigeria’s Aruna Quadri has indeed raised the bar for upcoming players to aim at in their chosen career.
At the Rio 2016 Olympic Games, the 28-year-old Nigerian created history by becoming the first African to reach the last eight stage in the men’s singles.
The world number 25, Quadri was honoured on the final day of the just-concluded 2016 ITTF Africa Senior Championship in Agadir, Morocco, by the ITTF Africa with an award for outstanding performance.
The award was presented by the ITTF-Africa President, Khaled El-Salhy and vice president of ITTF, Cherif Hajem.
The ITTF officials said that the two Nigerians – Segun Toriola and Aruna Quadri played an instrumental role in putting Africa on the world map in Rio and for this, the executive committee agreed that the two players must be acknowledged and honoured in order to motivate upcoming players to aim high like them.
President of ITTF Africa, Khaled El-Salhy said, “We were overwhelmed with the huge publicity that Africa got in the table tennis event at Rio Olympic Games because of the performance of Aruna Quadri because in the history of table tennis, no African has made it to the last eight of the Olympic Games.”
Emphasising on the importance of motivating young kids to follow Quadri’s footsteps, he added:
“Players like Aruna Quadri are very rare and I know his performance was due to his commitment and hard work which was obvious in his performance. This honour is not just to celebrate him but also to inspire the other players to work hard because without hard work and discipline it will be impossible for any player to make it to the world stage.”
“From his performance at the 2014 World Cup in Germany where he became the first African to make it to the quarter-final round of the competition to being named the Male Table Tennis Star of the year at the Dubai 2014 ITTF Star Awards, Aruna Quadri has raised the bar for others to aim at and with his performance of record, more people in the continent are now paying attention to the sport and we hope he will continue to move up and other African players will surely come through,” El-Salhy added.
Quadri Aruna made a giant leap in world rankings in November 2014. He moved from number 73 in October 2014 to number 30 in November 2014. After his success at the Rio Olympics in August this year, Aruna once again climbed up the ladder from number 40 in August 2016 to number 25 in September 2016.