File photo of Aruna Quadri
The World Table Tennis (WTT) Middle East Hub marks the start of an exciting new era for table tennis, with the main draw of the WTT Contender Doha event underway between 3-6 March at the Lusail Sports Arena in Doha, Qatar.
Teen sensation, Tomokazu Harimoto of Japan is expected to spearhead the challenge alongside several other notable names including Brazil’s Hugo Calderano, Nigeria’s Quadri Aruna and Chinese Taipei’s Lin Yun-Ju, dubbed “The Silent Assassin.”
Today, Nigeria’s Aruna challenge India’s Sathiyan Gnanasekaran in the main draw of the men’s singles of $200,000 prize money World Table Tennis (WTT) Middle East Hub taking place in Doha, Qatar. The Nigerian is ranked 21st in the world while the 28-year-old Indian star is rated 37th while both players will be meeting at this level for the first time with odds favouring the Nigerian.
The only African that progressed to the fourth stage of the preliminary round of the men’s singles, Senegal’s Ibrahima Diaw failed to join Aruna in the main draw as he was beaten by Japan’s Masataka Morizono 3-1 (11-5, 11-6, 7-11, 12-10). Tokyo 2020 Olympic-bound Senegalese fought his way to the fourth stage of the preliminary but the southpaw Japanese was too much for the African.
On Monday, Olajide Omotayo, Egypt’s Omar Assar, Ahmed Saleh, Mohammed El-Beiali and Khaled Assar have all been shown the exit in the first and second stages of the preliminary.
Aruna who is the 2019 Nigeria Open champion believes his best would see him through in the competition. “I am hoping that my best will be enough for me against the best in Qatar. There is no doubt that I am hopeful of a good outing in readiness for the World Olympic Qualification tournaments which takes place after the WTT tournament later this month. There are no minnows in table tennis and I hope my best will see me through the tournament,” Aruna said.
Delivering the first official WTT events, the WTT Contender Series is part of the revamped event structure that WTT, a commercial and events subsidiary of the International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF), has created.
The Hub features two tiers of the new WTT event structure, with players competing in a WTT Contender event before moving on to a WTT Star Contender event the following week between 8-13 March. A total of 298 players, representing 66 countries are taking part at the WTT Middle East Hub.
WTT is poised to bring an unprecedented increase in prize money while giving professional table tennis players the opportunity to compete at the highest level. With the WTT Youth series, also promises to unearth future superstars of the sport.
Source: Channels TV