Connect with us

Table Tennis

Nigeria’s Aruna Quadri and Egypt’s Goda are champions of Africa

Published

on

Quadri Aruna of Nigeria has retained his title in the men’s singles of the 2023 ITTF African Championships after beating Ahmed Saleh of Egypt in the final match played on Sunday, September 17, 2023.

Also, Egyptian teenage sensation, Hana Goda, dethroned her compatriot Dina Meshref to claim the women’s singles title on the same day in Tunis, the Tunisian capital.

Aruna, who is the tournament’s number one seed, overwhelmed Saleh in the final clash with a convincing 4-0 win to hold on to the title he won last year in Algeria.

Two-time Africa Cup champion Goda was also at her best against defending champion Meshref with another inspiring 4-1 win in the final encounter of the women’s singles.

There were mixed feelings for Aruna in Tunis, having missed the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games ticket through injury at the same venue.

Advertisement

“I am happy with the title because I have a good and bad memory of Tunis, having got injured here during the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games qualification. Winning another title here is good to erase the bad memory. This win will remain with me for a long time. I am happy and I look forward to the next challenge,” the Nigerian said.

An excited 15-year-old Goda described the victory as “special”. “This is special especially with the support from the Tunisian fans. I will cherish this for a long time to come,” she said.

Kunle Solaja is the author of landmark books on sports and journalism as well as being a multiple award-winning journalist and editor of long standing. He is easily Nigeria’s foremost soccer diarist and Africa's most capped FIFA World Cup journalist, having attended all FIFA World Cup finals from Italia ’90 to Qatar 2022. He was honoured at the Qatar 2022 World Cup by FIFA and AIPS.

Continue Reading
Advertisement

Table Tennis

Nigeria absent as African youths converge in Botswana 

Published

on

Nigeria is conspicuously absent from the 2024 ITTF Africa Youth Championships, which are currently underway in Gaborone, the capital of Botswana.

Despite being one of the leading African teams, Nigeria is not participating in this prestigious event.

In the 2023 edition held in Agadir, Morocco, the Nigerian contingent managed to compete thanks to the support of Friends of Table Tennis, who funded their trip.

However, despite qualifying for the 2023 ITTF World Youth Championships, the team could not honour the event.

Following weeks of preparation, the players were informed that they would not be able to travel due to the Nigeria Table Tennis Federation (NTTF) failing to secure necessary support from the Federal Ministry of Sports Development.

Advertisement

Botswana is making history by hosting the continent’s finest young players for the first time in African table tennis.

Unfortunately, Nigeria, a high-profile team, is missing from the action at the championships, which began on Monday, July 15. The Botho University Hall in Gaborone serves as the venue for this exciting event.

Having previously hosted regional championships, Botswana is thrilled to stage one of Africa’s elite tournaments. Motswagole Kudzanani, President of the Botswana Table Tennis Association (BTTA), emphasized that hosting the tournament would lead to all-round improvement for table tennis.

He stated, “Hosting provides a platform to build our capacity and expose our athletes to international standards. It also increases our brand visibility, showcasing our capabilities and helping us identify areas for growth.”

This year’s championships feature an increased number of participating nations compared to the 2023 edition. The participating countries include Botswana, Congo DRC, Ghana, Egypt, Cameroon, Kenya, Uganda, Lesotho, Benin Republic, Guinea, Madagascar, Namibia, South Africa, Rwanda, Tunisia, Zambia, and Zimbabwe.

Advertisement

Furthermore, the seven-day continental championships serves as African qualifiers for the 2024 ITTF World Youth Championships, scheduled to take place in Helsingborg, Sweden, in November.

Continue Reading

Table Tennis

Indian Sensation, Thakkar, Eyes WTT Contender Lagos Glory

Published

on

When Manav Thakkar competed at the 2023 edition of the WTT Contender Lagos, he never envisaged what would happen and despite his round of 16 exit, the tournament marked the beginning of his rise in the world rating.

Already listed for the 2024 edition of the first WTT Series in Sub-Saharan Africa, the 24-year-old is eagerly looking for another fortune to smile on him in the commercial nerve centre of Nigeria, when the tournament serves off on June 19 to 23 at the Molade Okoya-Thomas Hall of Teslim Balogun Stadium.

“As of today, I’m ranked 59 in the world but last year I was 140 before the 2023 WTT Contender Lagos and Lagos was the first event where I reached the last 16 after winning against higher-ranked players. Apart from my ranking, my level improved….so this year I’m also very hopeful that I will do well,” he said.

The former U-21 World No. 1 star described his maiden experience in Lagos as one of the best moments in his career particularly in terms of the massive support from the Lagos fans. “The experience compared to other tournaments was very good for me. I enjoyed the food in Lagos. There were many varieties and I also got a lot of support from the people when I was playing the matches. These were the major things that helped me to do well in the event last year.

“The unique thing about the event in Lagos is the food and the people. There is a bit of traffic in Lagos and there is also traffic in India as well, so I am used to it. People cheered every player during the matches and we players enjoyed playing it compared to other events and the food in terms of breakfast, lunch, and dinner. I could remember that the hotel used to give us one special Indian dish every day and the people were very friendly and helpful in Lagos,” Thakkar added.

Advertisement

For this year, Thakkar is optimistic about exceeding his 2023 round of 16 feat. “My expectation this year is to win a medal in singles and doubles as well as in mixed doubles. I am really excited and looking forward to playing at the event in Lagos,” the right-handed shakehand grip star said.

Continue Reading

Table Tennis

Aruna returns to top 16, battles Croat at WTT Contender Zagreb

Published

on

Assar, Aruna, lead six other Africans to 2024 ITTF World Cups

Quadri Aruna continues his steady rise on the ITTF Ranking as the Nigerian gained one step up the ladder to occupy the 16th spot as the highest African ranked player in Week 23 of the 2024 ITTF Ranking released by the world table tennis ruling body on Tuesday, June 4.

Also, Aruna’s quest to garner more points ahead of the Paris 2024 Olympic Games in France has pitted him against home-boy Frane Kojic in the first round of the men’s singles at the 2024 WTT Contender Zagreb taking place in Serbia.

Aruna who started his rise in the ranking in Week 22 after his round of 16 finish at the Saudi Smash last month had his appeal accepted by the ITTF Executive Board for his World Table Tennis Championships points to be restored and this prompted his movement to 16th place in the latest ranking.

However, Aruna awaits formal confirmation from ITTF for his qualification for the Paris 2024 Olympic Games on June 11 when the world ranking will be used to determine the final list of players who will join the flight to France’s most populous city, Paris next month.

Meanwhile, Spain’s Alvaro Robles has become the biggest mover in the ITTF Ranking as the Spaniard achieved another career-high ranking. It has been over six years since Robles has scored a career-high ranking as the Spaniard kicked off 2018 sitting at No.37 in the world and had never been as high since. But with the latest rating, Robles jumped 15 places up the ladder to No.32, shaving five places off his previous record.

Advertisement

This is a phenomenal testament to the stalwart’s commitment to the sport and also to his recent form as the 33-year-old has been to the final of two WTT events in 2024, including last week’s WTT Contender Mendoza. Although he lost out on the title in a thrilling seven-game duel with Benedikt Duda of Germany, the new career-high ranking will add further fuel to Robles’ fire to go even higher.

Continue Reading

Most Viewed