The International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF) on Tuesday confirmed the qualification of Nigeria’s Quadri Aruna for the rescheduled 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo, Japan.
ITTF’s Competition Director, Gabor Felegyi, announced Aruna’s qualification in a letter addressed to the President of Nigeria Olympic Committee (NOC) and copied the President of Nigeria Table Tennis Federation (NTTF).
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Aruna is the first African in Olympic Games history to make it to the quarter-final stage of the competition’s singles event.
He is now expected to join 85 others across the globe to compete in the men’s singles event at Tokyo Olympic Games next month.
“It is with great pleasure that I announce the qualification of Quadri Aryna to compete in the table tennis competition’s men’s singles event at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.
”His qualification is on the basis of World Ranking allocation, according to the June 2021 ITTF Olympic Qualification Ranking,” Felegyi stated.
He however stated that the NOC is expected to confirm Aruna’s participation on or before June 16.
NAN reports that, with this development, Aruna will be making his third appearance at the Olympic Games having featured at London 2012 and Rio 2016.
He will join Olajide Omotayo, Olufunke Oshonaike and Edem Offiong to compete for Nigeria in the singles event at Tokyo.
Aruna had stunned the world with his performance as the first African to reach the quarter-finals after edging out some of the best players in the world.
These include former world number one Timo Boll of Germany.
He later lost to eventual winner Ma Long of China in the quarter-final.
Ishaku Tikon, Chairman of NTTF’s Caretaker Committee, while speaking on the development, said he has been proved right with the confirmation by ITTF.
“The exploits of Aruna in the last two years were enough to secure a place for him in Tokyo.
“When Aruna got injured during the African Qualifying Tournament in Tunis last year, I told the world that he will make it to Tokyo as he is ranked among the top 10 in the Olympic ranking.
“In spite of the setback in Tunisia, Aruna did not relent in his performance and for me I am so excited as a Nigerian because his qualification will surely motivate others to look up to him and aim for the best in Tokyo,” Tikon said.
Newsmen report that 64 players have so far been confirmed for the men’s singles event while the remaining six slots are expected to be allocated as wildcards.