Top seed at this year’s International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF) Challenge Nigeria Open, Aruna Quadri was at the weekend elevated to number 18th by the ITTF for the month of August.
Following this development, Quadri has now become the second African athlete to reach the top 20 in the ITTF ranking after Omar Assar of Egypt.
Quadri ranked 20th last month is the only Nigerian to have achieved the top 18 rating in the world.
An excited Quadri said his new rating would enable him to work more on his game.
“I am so happy with the ranking particularly with my qualification for the ITTF World Cup in France.
Again, this ranking has shown that I should not relax but continue to work harder because remaining on top is one of the difficult tasks for any athlete.
“This goes to show that I must redouble my efforts in training and continue to compete in major competitions across the globe. I will not be carried away by this rating but be humbled by this feat and remain focused in order to maintain my status in the global rating,” he said.
Meanwhile, debutant, and three-time Dutch national champion, Ewout Oostwouder, is one of the players registered for year’s ITTF Challenge Nigeria Open beginning at the Molade Okoya-Thomas Hall of the Teslim Balogun Stadium between Tuesday and August 12, and has promised to make his trip in Nigeria a worthwhile.
“I have heard a lot about the Nigeria Open but one unique thing I heard is that there are many spectators, who attend the tournament. And also the fans enjoy watching the game as well as encourage the players.
“Going to Lagos will surely give me another experience and I think it is a good opportunity for me to play in Africa. I am looking forward to play in a hall with many spectators and besides that I have never been to Africa, as I am also curious about the culture of the country,” Oostwouder said.
Speaking on the players expected for the championship, which he said he has not seen the seeding yet, the 24-year-old Dutch still believes he can reach a new height at the ITTF rated tournament.
“It is my first tournament of the season, so I hope to reach a good level again.”