ITTF. Its always refreshing to have a new name being recognised in table tennis. After his eye-catching performance in the World Cup, Quadri Aruna received his well-deserved recognition.
Any competition is always tough for the qualifiers primarily because they have more battles to withstand. In the Men's World Cup, one qualifier showed great courage and he is Quadri Aruna of Nigeria.
On the first round, as the lowest ranking player in Group 4, he surprised the Japanese sensation Kenta Matsudaira. For his next match, he swept Alexander Shibaev of Russia, finishing first in his group. Eventually, Aruna had a favourable position in the main draw.
Emerging in the Group Stage in a powerful manner was already a surprise in the competition but Aruna didn't stop. He defeated the Hong Kong seed Tang Peng in six sets, creating another upset in the competition.
He proceeded to the quarterfinals but his opponent this time was not to be taken for granted: the Grand Slam champion, Zhang Jike. Well, with how he performed in the competition and the recent problems of Zhang Jike, anything was actually possible.
In their match, Aruna got two sets from the Chinese player. Zhang Jike won.
Quadri Aruna vs Zhang Jike 2014 World Cup MS QF
video kindly shared by janus770
Although he didn't get to stand in the medal podium, Quadri Aruna surely made his presence felt. Well actually, he is now ranked at the 30th spot in the world. November of 2013, he was at 221. That is a big achievement.
Aside from that, Quadri Aruna also gave so much pride for Nigeria. His phenomenal progress is now considered the highest standard for African table tennis.
With this, Quadri Aruna and Mr. Wahid Oshodi, the President of Nigeria Table Tennis Association, were awarded as the "Sportsman of the Year" and the "Administrator of the Year" respectively in the Nigeria National Awards.
Photo source: Fuse Sports