The scintillating performance of Nigeria’s Aruna Quadri at the just-ended Rio 2016 Olympics has been celebrated as it becomes one of the major highlights listed by the International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF).
In the Rio 2016 Wrap Up published last weekend on the website of the world table tennis ruling body, Aruna was described as the Africa star of Rio.
“The Men’s singles event also featured fantastic performances from two players in particular: Hugo Calderano and Quadri Aruna. Calderano made full use of the home crowd advantage as the Brazilian negotiated the likes of Par Gerell and Tang Peng on his way to a round four finish,” ITTF said.
The body added: “Nigerian contestant Aruna Quadri caused arguably the biggest upsets in the category as the 27th seed beat Chuang Chih-Yuan (6th) and Timo Boll (10th) before eventually exiting to Ma Long in the last eight – becoming the first African to reach that stage of an Olympic Table Tennis competition.”
Quadri had declared after his feat in Rio that: “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 come true.”
Also, the Women’s Singles tournament at Rio 2016 saw China’s Ding Ning win her first ever Olympic singles gold medal, after her victory over the London 2012 champion Li Xiaoxia (China). Both finalists brought their ‘A’ game as two of the world’s top competitors fought it out for the ultimate prize, but there could only be one winner and it was Ding who took it in the seventh game to seal the gold (11-9, 5-11, 14-12, 9-11, 8-11, 11-7, 11-7).
Sadly, Li Xiaoxia confirmed that Rio 2016 would be her final appearance for China, “It’s with pity to retire, but it’s for a better future.” Li added, “Life can’t be always sweet, and I’ll face my retirement with a smile. Thank you table tennis for everything that the sport has gave me.”