Brazilians, Africans Celebrate Aruna Quadri’s Feat in Rio

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  •  Frot Group donates N1m to the African champion

Duro Ikhazuagbe

Africa’s first table tennis player to reach the men’s single’s quarter final of an Olympic Game, Aruna Quadri has continued to receive accolades for his feat at the ongoing Rio2016 despite losing to World Number 1, MA Long of China on Tuesday night.

Quadri who turned 28 years old on August 9 got a befitting birthday song from adorable Brazilian fans and other African athletes and officials for doing the continent proud.

An elated Quadri said yesterday: “”They were really good singers, I was so happy seeing them singing for me, it was amazing thing.”

He however admitted the superiority of Chinese superstar, “MA Long is so much better, so much faster, everything is just perfect about MA Long while his speed was just too much for me. It was not going very well for me tonight and I had a lot more difficulty receiving his service. He was stronger and faster, everything was just too perfect about him.”

With his feat in Rio, Quadri believes this would inspire African players to aim for Olympic medals.

“I believe that it is possible for an African to win Olympic medal in table tennis because nothing is impossible to go there, and not just me. I strongly believe there are some upcoming players in Africa, including Egypt’s Omar Assar, and some top Nigerian players who could be able to easily match my record with hard work,” concludes the 2014 ITTF Star Player.

Meanwhile, President of Frot Group, Frank Momoh, insisted yesterday that the performance of Quadri has shown that with more support, table tennis has the capacity to bring more laurels to Nigeria.

“Despite the loss of Quadri to Ma Long, the team needs our commendation, especially as Quadri has set a new African record as the first African to reach an Olympic quarter final in table tennis,” Momoh said.

He however lauded the leadership of Nigeria Table Tennis Federation (NTTF) for their efforts. “The leadership of NTTF has never been in doubt, as the country’s in Rio has further shown that the plan for table tennis is pan-African and you have our full support. With patriotic support from sport loving Nigerians and organisations, Nigeria can establish her authority in world reckoning.

“To show our full support for the team, I on behalf of Frot Group hereby give a cash reward of $2,500 to Aruna Quadri for his new African record. Well done also to NTTF President, Wahid Enitan-Oshodi, well done Team Nigeria,” he added.

Encomiums have also continued to pour in for Quadri’s feat. From Egypt, Mauritius, Algeria, Djibouti, South Africa, Botswana and Cote d’Ivoire, Quadri’s feat as the first African to qualify for the quarter-final round of the table tennis event at the Olympic Games has become the talk of the town across the continent.

President of the African Table Tennis Federation (ATTF), Khaled El-Salhy, Vice President of the South Africa Olympic Committee (SAOC), Hajera Kajee, as well as the former President of Djibouti Table Tennis Association and Executive member of ATTF, Farah Hassan Farah, all heaped praises on Quadri, stressing that he has now put the continent on the global map with all eyes on Africa now at ITTF.

The excited ATTF boss said: “I am so happy with Quadri Aruna of Nigeria flying high in the prospect of Rio Olympic Games by qualifying to the quarterfinal of the Men’s Single.
Congratulation to Africa, ATTF, NTTF and all table tennis fans in our continent,” he noted.
“It is indeed a great moment for Nigeria and our Continent Africa. Viva Africa,” said Kajee. Well done!! Kudos to Aruna Quadri and his team, Nigeria Table Tennis Federation and of course the continent should celebrate this outstanding performance,” said Farah.

The President of Senegal Table Tennis Federation, Balla Lo also hailed Quadri, stressing that the huge gap between Africa and developed continents has reduced with this feat.

“This is not the case regarding some major sports like football, basketball, judo and many other sports where the gap is still very wide. My best wishes to Aruna,” concludes the Senegalese table tennis chief.