2020 ITTF World Cup: Aruna Quadri gets German, Slovenian opponents

2020 ITTF World Cup: Aruna Quadri gets German, Slovenian opponents 

Quadri Aruna - World Cup group stage draw

Nigeria’s flagbearer at the 2020 ITTF World Cup Aruna Quadri has been pitched against Germany’s Patrick Franziska and Slovenia’s Darko Jorgic in group three of the first round stage of the championship taking place in Weihai, China.

The tournament is one of the four Restart Competitions lined-up by the International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF) for the return of international events following COVID-19 pandemic which broke out across the globe. International table tennis events have been on hold since March 2020 and the Restart tournaments include, Women’s World Cup, Men’s World Cup, ITTF Finals and WTT championship scheduled for Macau later this month as well.

Already, the Women’s World Cup has concluded with China’s Chen Meng emerging as champion in her maiden outing and the Men’s World Cup which has Quadri and Egypt’s Ahmed Saleh as Africa’s representatives kicks off on Friday November 13 to 15 at Weihai Nanhai Olympic Sport Centre.

At the draw held on Thursday November 12, Quadri will slug it out for a place in the main draw against German Franziska while his final group match will be against the young Slovenian who is considered as one of the emerging stars from Europe.

According to ITTF, the Nigerian is regarded as one of the dark horses of the competition who is making his sixth World Cup appearance since making his debut in 2009 in Moscow, Russia.

Quadri is a bronze medallist at the 2019 ITTF Africa Cup, and he is seeded no.13 among the 21 players competing in the three-day tournament.

“A regular at world title events, Quadri Aruna is no stranger to pushing the table tennis elite to the limit. Aruna will want to improve his best quarter-final finish of six years ago in Düsseldorf, as he could not go past the round of 16 in last year’s edition. What will the African representative bring to the table in Weihai?,” ITTF wrote.

The top two players in the four groups are expected to advance to the main draw where they will be drawn against the top eight seeds in the main draw of the championship.

 

SOURCE : 

Nigeria Table Tennis Federation

2020 ITTF World Cup: Toriola, Oshonaike tip Aruna Quadri to excel in China

2020 ITTF World Cup: Toriola, Oshonaike tip Aruna Quadri to excel in China

Quadri Aruna - TTC RhonSprudel Fulda-Maberzell

As Aruna Quadri awaits his possible opponents in the 2020 ITTF World Cup holding in China on Thursday November 12, Africa’s most successful table tennis players, Segun Toriola and Olufunke Oshonaike have expressed optimism on the performance of the Nigerian against some of the best in the world.

Toriola and Oshonaike have proved great ambassadors for table tennis over the years.

Both players have featured at past ITTF World Cup events and, despite approaching their late 40s, they are still active for their clubs and countries.

Notably last year, Oshonaike sealed qualification to her seventh Olympic Games, becoming the first female table tennis player to achieve the feat.

Ahead of the upcoming ITTF World Cups and ITTF Finals in China on November 13 to 17, Toriola and Oshonaike analysed the events which mark the return of international action after seven months of inactivity across the globe due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“For me, these events are going to be a little bit strange because we can’t comment about the players’ recent form, but I know the Chinese always try to be in shape and ahead of the game. I am sure it is not going to be easy for many players because during the COVID-19 lockdown most players across the world were not able to practise very well, then after the lockdown, players tried to come back, but it has not been easy for players in terms of managing their feelings and confidence,” Toriola said.

He added: “Although some of the European countries have started playing leagues, these are very different to competing in international events, so it is not going to be easy for players. I think that the Chinese are the favourites because during the lockdown they were still practising and also played some competitive events in China. They are always well prepared and well organised. However, the Chinese players need to watch out for Tomokazu Harimoto of Japan, because he is a very dangerous player.”

It is going to be difficult for Africans at the World Cups. It’s a big challenge for Egypt’s Ahmed Saleh, particularly with the pace of the present players. Also considering his style of play, he is an experienced athlete who defends a lot, but I think that Quadri Aruna can go far in the competition. On his day, he has the quality to match anyone in the world.”

Meanwhile, an excited Oshonaike cannot wait to compete internationally and she commended the ITTF for managing to stage international table tennis events amidst the global pandemic.

“I’m so very happy that finally we are starting again and that the ITTF can now hold events again. I am overjoyed about that. The world’s best players will be competing at these events. For me, the top contenders in the women’s events are coming from Asia. Even though a lot of Europeans have tried hard to break into the quarter-finals of major events, it has often been hard for them.

“Egypt’s Dina Meshref has really been pushing to be up there but it will be a tough challenge. I am just being very realistic because if we have to see the way the Chinese and Japanese are playing, they are very fast and it is going to be very difficult to overcome them. I wish Dina all the best.

“In the men’s event, nothing is impossible. (Quadri) Aruna has been in the quarter-finals before in 2014, but that was a very different time. Now the players are just returning to action again. Meanwhile, the Chinese have been training hard so they have better chances. I just hope that Aruna goes out there to try his best by just being relaxed because if you are more relaxed in table tennis there can be a lot of surprises!” 

 

 

SOURCE : 

Nigeria Table Tennis Federation