Nigeria’s number one table tennis star, Quadri Aruna, will make his third appearance at the World Table Tennis (WTT) Final, which runs from January 3 to 5, 2024 in Doha, Qatar.
Aruna is the only African player to have featured in the WTT Finals since its inaugural edition in 2021.
With a few days to serve off of the $340,000 prize money first major WTT tournament of 2024, the ultra-modern Lusail Sports Arena in Doha will host the Nigerian and other top 15 players in the world, including world number one, Fan Zhendong of China.
Being the season finale event of WTT Series 2023, Aruna’s best outing was in his maiden outing when he beat the then world number six, Liang Jingkun of China, to qualify for the quarterfinal where he was beaten by Brazil’s Hugo Calderano.
In 2023, Aruna made a jaw-dropping win at Singapore Smash, defeating Tomokazu Harimoto of Japan for the first time in his career in what was one of the matches of the season.
Yet to move beyond the quarterfinals in the WTT Series this year, the ‘King of Africa’ will need to bring the same form shown in the Lion City if he is to challenge for the title in Doha.
Considered the lowest-ranked player among the competitors in Doha, the Nigerian is hoping to start the year on a good note in his quest to make his fourth Olympic Games appearance in Paris, France, later in the year.
For now, the 2023 African champion hopes to shore up his world ranking in his bid to qualify through his rating to Paris 2024.
In Doha, the Nigerian will face a Herculean task against some of the finest players in the world, including former world and Olympic champion, Ma Long of China, and French teenage sensation, Felix Lebrun.
The draws for the tournament will be held tomorrow, while the top seeds will square up against the likes of Aruna in the first round (round of 16) on Wednesday.
Shuaeeb Is a seasoned sportswriter, social worker, and philanthropist. He has been renowned for his support of disabled sports persons and championing for equal rights and opportunities for all sports persons. He is also a father of 4 children and married to His partner Moana who is of Australian descent. He currently does sports volunteering and disability support work aside from writing for this August media.