On Tuesday, Nigeria’s Quadri Aruna became the first African to make it to the quarterfinals at the Olympics, making all Africans, especially Nigerians proud.
However, it seems our hopes of getting that gold is gone.
Quadri Aruna qualified for the men’s singles table tennis quarterfinals after defeating London’s 2012 bronze medalist, Germany’s Boll Timo 4-2 (12-10, 12-10, 11-5, 3-11, 5-11, 11-9).
“This is amazing, I don’t know what to say. My fans made me do this. Thank you for all the Brazilian spectators for their support. They gave me so much energy. This feels so good; it is a dream comes true that I am in the quarterfinal,” he said referring to the spectators at the arena who kept chanting ‘ Nigeria’ as he defeated the European champion.
He also defeated Dmitry Prokoptsov of Czech Republic 4-2 in the first round, and Slovakia’s Yang Wang 4-1 in the second round. The third round was more epic as Quadri defeated World number 7 tennis player 4-0 in straight sets.
Although Quadri was 2014 International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF)) world player of the year, he only ranks 30th in the world and it was a big feat seeing him defeat those who ranked higher than him.
Hope For Gold Dashed
However, our hope of Quadri Aruna bringing the gold not only for Nigeria but Africa went down the drain when he matched against world number 1 Ma Long on Tuesday.
The Chinese table tennis player defeated him with a 4-0 win. What started calmly ended up in 4 straight set loss of 11-4, 11-2, 11-6, 11-7. Ma Long will now face Jun Mizutani of Japan in the semifinals on Thursday, August 11.
He would be facing world number 1 tennis star, China’s Ma Long again on Friday. The game on Friday is the Men’s team round 1 which will see the trio of Quadri Aruna, Segun Toriola, and Bode Abiodun compete against China’s trio of Ma Long, Xu Xin, and Zhang Jike.
Regardless of the outcome of the game against Ma long, Quadri Aruna remains our champion.