#TrailblazingTuesday: Naijablazer of the Week – Aruna Quadri’s streak of feats will wow you

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As the only African to make it to the quater-final of the World Cup and Olympic Games, the International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF) through it Publication Editor, Ian Marshal, described Aruna Quadri as a record setter following his rise and rise to becoming a table tennis great!

The spectacular performances of Nigeria’s Aruna Quadri in 2014 saw him emerge as the ITTF Star Player of the year at an award ceremony held in Dubai, the United Arab Emirates. A major milestone!

Currently ranked 36th in the world rankings, Quadri Aruna is well known for setting records and has accomplished a new landmark achievement by becoming the first Nigerian competitor to win a Men’s Singles title at an ITTF Challenge Series event.

At the 2016 Olympics in Rio, Quadri went the farthest any African player has ever gone at the Games by getting to the Quarterfinal, beating then World no. 7, Chuang Chih-Yuan, and 10th-ranked Timo Boll en route. This, in only his second Olympics appearance, signaled a player competing at the height of his powers.

After winning the Polish Open men’s singles title last year, Aruna Quadri becomes the first African to win an ITTF title outside the continent.

In his review of the 2017 Polish Open, Ian Marshall wrote, “At the Liebherr 2014 Men’s World Cup in Düsseldorf Quadri Aruna became the first player from Africa to reach the quarter-final stage of the prestigious tournament; just over one year ago in the Men’s Singles event at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games, he replicated the feat. Against all expectations he reached the round of the last eight.

The win in Czestochowa means that he becomes the first player from Nigeria to win a Men’s Singles title on either the ITTF World Tour or ITTF Challenge Series; notably on home soil in Nigeria, in 2015 he had been beaten in the final by Egypt’s Omar Assar, his only previous Men’s Singles final in a recognised open international tournament.

He now joins Omar Assar as the only African player to win such a title and the only player to win beyond the continent’s shore. Omar Assar has three such titles to his name but all in Nigeria. He repeated his Lagos success earlier this year, having also won in 2014.

Two titles, it was not to be a third; in the Czestochowa it was to be runners up spot, the top step of the podium belonged to Nigeria, to Quadri Aruna, a watershed moment for player and country,” Marshal said..

Another quality of Aruna is his humility and willingness to learn. To hear him speak, even in the wake of defeat, is to hear one with his priorities in place, always seeking out the lessons, determined to bounce back.

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