Quadri wins 2018 ITTF Nige­ria Open

Daily Trust - - SPORT - From Risikat Ra­moni, La­gos

Nige­ria’s Aruna Quadri yes­ter­day emerged win­ner of the 2018 Sea­mas­ter In­ter­na­tional Ta­ble Ten­nis Fed­er­a­tion (ITTF) Chal­lenge Nige­ria Open af­ter de­feat­ing France’s An­toine Hachard in the men’s sin­gles fi­nal at the Mo­lade Okoy­aThomas Hall at the Tes­lim Ba­lo­gun Sta­dium, La­gos.

With the vic­tory, Quadri be­comes the first Nige­ria to win this ti­tle.

He lost the first game 13-11 but bounced back to tie the game 11-3 in the se­cond set.

Hag­gard took the third set 11-8, but the Nige­rian tied the French­man for the se­cond time, win­ning the fourth set 11-7 be­fore win­ning the fifth and sixth sets 11-5, 11-7 re­spec­tively.

Be­sides the $5,000 prize money as cham­pion, Quadri also pock­eted $200 for fair play.

At­tribut­ing the vic­tory to the sup­port from his fans at the tour­na­ment, Quadri also ded­i­cated his suc­cess to the mas­sive sup­port he re­ceived from the huge crowd who con­tin­u­ously en­cour­aged and mo­ti­vated him through­out the five-day com­pe­ti­tion.

“What mat­ters is that a Nige­rian fi­nally wins the tour­na­ment. The cup be­longs to all Nige­rian play­ers who sup­ported me. Se­gun To­ri­ola called ear­lier be­fore the tour­na­ment to en­cour­age as well as give me some tips be­fore the match,” Quadri said.

NTTF pres­i­dent, Ishaku Tikon said, “I was op­ti­mistic be­fore the tour­na­ment that a Nige­rian will win and that’s ex­actly what hap­pened. I know the sta­tus of my play­ers and I was con­fi­dent and op­ti­mistic that it will end this way.

“Although there are many Nige­ri­ans who lost, but in ta­ble ten­nis, some­one must win and some­one must lose. The ones that lost, they have learnt from the match and next year, they will im­prove.

“Aruna has proven to the world that his current rank­ing, No 18 is not by mis­take. In the near­est fu­ture, Quadri will be ranked No. 10. More of Aruna Quadri has been dis­cov­ered, we will work on them to be­come in­ter­na­tional play­ers.”

The LOC Chair­man, Mr Wahid Oshodi de­scribed the tour­na­ment as a great one.

“With Aruna Quadri win­ning, it strikes many emo­tions. Be­fore the match, he was very ner­vous and shaken. I re­minded him of our 12 years jour­ney and told him he is one of the big­gest play­ers in both ta­ble ten­nis and sports in Nige­ria. I told him he could do it and the fans lifted him.

“I have been with Quadri in many tour­na­ments around the world, he would have lost to­day but the fans lifted him and he per­formed in a fan­tas­tic way. The CEO of ITTF called to say the noise in La­gos can be heard in Sin­ga­pore. His coach, Sharafa from Oyo also did tremen­dously well. The fans from day one were fan­tas­tic and they de­served to en­joy this.

“Ta­ble ten­nis is a self­ish game where peo­ple don’t sup­port their op­po­nent, but in La­gos, ev­ery match was ap­plauded.”

Aruna Quadri of Nige­ria in ac­tion against Omar As­sar dur­ing the fi­nal match of the Africa Cup 2015. Quadri de­feated France’s An­toine Hachard 4-2 yes­ter­day to win the 2018 Nige­ria Open

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