Quadri wins 2018 ITTF Nigeria Open
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