Oyo-born two-time Olympian and Africa’s No. 1 ranked table tennis player, Aruna Quadri, says his wish is to win medals at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games as he turned 28 year on Wednesday in Lagos.
Quadri expressed the wish in Day 1 of the “Seamaster International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF) Challenge Nigeria Open Championships holding at the Teslim Balogun Stadium, Lagos.
Quadri, seeded No.1 in the competition, told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Lagos that he would use the championships to improve his record and to make Nigeria proud at the upcoming Summer Olympics.
“I am grateful to Allah for the gift of this day, being my birthday, for granting me good health and for all my achievements in my career.
“I have received lots of good wishes and prayers today, but what I wish for myself is to surpass my record in these championships and essentially, to win medals in Tokyo 2020 Games,’’ he cheerfully said.
In the same vein, Ganiyat Aruna, wife of Quadri, told NAN that she was delighted to have the top ranked Nigeria player as a husband and wished him more successes in his career.
“My husband’s birthday is one of my happy days and I usually spend more time to pray for him which I did first thing this morning.
“My wish for him is to remain successful, and I join my faith to win him medals in the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games which is one of his targets.’’
Meanwhile, John Peters, an ITTF table tennis umpire, told NAN that he was happy to celebrate Quadri, one of the greatest players in Nigeria and Africa and described him as unique.
Peter said Quadri deserved to be celebrated because he has made Nigeria and Africa proud through his good record in various championships.
“He is an outstanding player, who has captured my interest and that of family with his thrilling strokes and performances. So, I wish him greater achievements, long life and good health,’’ he said.
NAN reports that Quadri is the first African to be ranked among the first 25 in the world by the ITTF.
NAN also reports that no fewer than 95 male and 55 female players from 22 countries are jostling for the 46,000 dollars price money at stake at the competition holding from Aug. 9 to Aug. 13.