After watching the city of Houston standstill for Nigeria’s Quadri Aruna on Friday, November 26, after the Nigerian became the first African to reach the quarterfinal in the history of the ITTF World Table Tennis Championships Finals, attention is now shifted to the quarter-final clash.
The Nigerian is expected to confront another Swedish record-breaker Truls Moregard in the quarterfinal late on Saturday, November 27.
Aruna made his presence felt amidst the array of stars competing at the 2021 ITTF World Table Tennis Championships Finals staged at the George R. Brown Convention Center in Houston, Texas, United States.
Earlier on Thursday, Aruna had beaten the round of 32 records set in 2019 by Egypt’s duo of Omar Assar and Ahmed Saleh after he breezed into the round of 16. But late on Friday, November 26, he erased the record to set another one with a place in the quarterfinal of the championships.
The 2014 ITTF World Player of Year became the first Nigerian and player from the Africa continent to feature in the last eight at the World Table Tennis Championship after he defeated Sweden’s Kristian Karlsson 4-3 (11-9, 5-11, 13-11, 5-11, 6-11, 11-8, 11-6).
“It’s amazing. I had to dig deep and I gave everything I had. I’m excited about the quarter-final. I’ve been playing very well and the spirit of never giving up is always there,” said Aruna during a post-match interview.
According to ITTF, players from Africa, Europe, North America, South America and Asia are expected to continue lighting up the historical event which is being hosted in the Americas for the first time in its storied history.
African table tennis continues to shine brightly after Aruna’s historic passage to the last eight at the World Table Tennis Championship. “It means a lot to me,” he said, “especially for Nigeria and the whole of Africa. Table tennis is growing very fast in Africa. Now we have several players in the Top 100,” said Aruna.
While this year’s World Championships quarterfinals truly showcase the universality of table tennis, the ITTF will do its utmost to foster new initiatives and ultimately grow the sport worldwide.