Aruna Quadri has become the first Nigerian to win the ITTF Nigeria Open men’s singles title after defeating Frenchman, Hachard Antoine in the final match of ITTF Nigeria Open 2018 held at Molade Okoya Thomas Hall of Teslim Balogun Stadium, Surulere, Lagos.
The world No. 18 who earlier in the day took out Thailand’s Wisutmaythangkoon Supanut 11-9, 14-12, 11-9, 11-8 in the semi-final.
For his effort, Quadri won the competition’s top prize money of $5,000. The Nigerian also won another $200 courtesy of the fair play award which was also awarded to him.
Also, the best Nigerian home-grown player of the tournament, Jamiu Anyawale was rewarded with cash gift of $200.
Speaking after he was presented with his prize, Quadri thanked the fans who supported him all the way to win the tournament, saying the victory could not have been possible without their support.
“If not for my fans that supported me all the way, this victory would not have been possible and so I want to thank the people for standing by me,” Quadri said.
The runner up was rewarded with $2,500 while Guo Yan from China went home with $5,000 for winning the women’s singles. Her fellow compatriot, Sun Chen was awarded with $2,500 for emerging as the first runner up of the women’s singles.
Lagos State Governor, Mr Akinwunmi Ambode expressed his excitement over the emergence of Quadri as the winner of the men’s singles event.
He said: “This is a major improvement from last year’s competition and again for the very first time in the last six years, we found a Nigerian winning the men’s singles and this brings a lot of excitement for me because I have been supporting table tennis and I know that next year’s tournament will be more exciting than this.
“As a government, we are going to put more support; we put more financial support so that we can attract more people and also encourage more Nigerians to participate. You know we actually gave bonus to Nigerians that have qualified and that is also to encourage more of our own local players to compete internationally,” Governor Ambode said.