Nigeria’s table tennis star, Aruna Quadri, who was among PREMIUM TIMES’ top 14 sports personalities for 2014, has declared that his mission statement for 2015 is to win everything at stake in Africa.
Having posted exceptional performances in 2014, Quadri insisted that he wanted to start his run for the year with the titles at the International Table Tennis Federation, ITTF, Africa Senior Championships holding on January 23 to 29 in Cairo, Egypt.
The Portugal-based player said: “I never won the African championships individual event in my career and winning it will make me happy in January and I seriously believed it is achievable and God will help me as I am working harder for the war in Cairo. As a matter of fact, the men’s single title being held by Egypt’s El-Sayed Lashin is still eluding me in Africa and winning it will make me fulfilled a little bit just like the way I am targeting the All Africa Games diadem held by Lashin’s compatriot, Omar Assar. This year winning individual titles will make me fully fulfilled in Africa and I know it is possible with hard work.”
To demystify the threat that may be posed by the host, Egypt in Cairo, the highest ranked African player in the world said: “As a member of the Nigerian team, I am looking forward to a more better outing because Egypt has been ruling the continent for years now and our men and women’s team are looking forward to stop the Egyptians’ dominance. It is true and I seriously believe that the North Africans dominance is very possible to be stopped in January. I must admit that it is not going to be easy for any team to defeat them due to the players their team has but it’s very possible if our team has the needed support.”
On how he hopes to prepare for the tournament in Cairo, he said: “I think I will be well-prepared for the tournament after the ITTF Star Award in Dubai. I am going straight to Porto to join my teammates and practice with them for two weeks just like I did before the ITTF World Cup.”
He also believes teams like Tunisia, Algeria and Congo Brazzaville are not pushovers as they are also threats to Nigeria’s dream of cleaning the seven titles.
“We are all ready for the war in Cairo due to the fact that everyone knows what is at stake and we will all fight to retain our lost glory in Africa this time. Our federation has been working harder and this is the right time that we can compensate the great efforts of our federation president and his members. Just like we put smile on his face at the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Scotland, we are all working harder as a team to make him the happiest man in January in Cairo and may God help us more than our expectation,” he promised.
This year, Quadri hopes to feature in more Pro Tours with the aim of playing in the World Tour finals this year.