Africa’s top ranked table tennis player, Quadri Aruna, has qualified for the next round of the men’s singles event of the on-going 2017 Liebherr World Championships in Düsseldorf,.
Aruna overcame Chilean Gustavo Gomez in four straight sets (11-2, 11-7, 11-5, 11-3) to set up a clash with Denmark’s Jonathan Groth in the next round on Thursday.
His compatriot Segun Toriola lost 11-8, 11-6, 11-5, 11-1 to Sweden’s Mattias Karlsson in the preliminary round.
The 42 year old Olympian however blamed the new ball for his poor performance during the competition.
“It was a very difficult match for me because the ball was not bouncing as I had expected and this sometimes made the ball to stay on table,” Toriola told the ITTF official website.
“Also, my opponent was using pimples on his forehand and I was trying to avoid playing to his forehand but it was very hard for me to achieve this.
“For me I think the new ball has not helped any player because it was too slow on the table compared to the ball used during Rio Olympic Games. There should be long time awareness on the change of ball and this has really affected a lot of players.”
Olufunke Oshonaike also crashed out of the tournament after losing to world number nine and Asian Champion, Miu Hirano.
Oshonaike had earlier defeated 12 year-old Rizumu Ono from Philippines to advance to the next round but lost in four straight sets (11-8,11-2,11-4,11-1) to Hirano.
She admitted after the encounter that she was nervous taking Hirano but was proud of her performance despite playing with a leg injury.
“I have been so unlucky in the World Championship because I played Ding Ning in the first round of the 2015 edition in China,” she wrote on her official Facebook page.
“Today I had to play against the Asian champion, Miu Hirano. However, I can also consider myself fortunate because it is rare to play against these top players. It is has afforded an opportunity to show that I can play well against them.”
“I have been able to prove that I can play against any player in the world and playing against Hirano was a great chance. Generally making it to the main draw this year was a bit tougher because every player is now playing well, so for me making it again to the main draw this year is encouraging for me.
“I lost but I’m so very proud of myself because I played very well with my leg injury. It’s a great privilege for me to still be wearing my green white green to represent my country Nigeria on the Centre table.
“Thank you all for your love and support. Though we all sponsored ourselves down here but I still love Nigeria so much and I know that one day it will be better.”