Since 2018 Quadri Aruna has been playing second fiddle to Egyptian Omar Assar in finals of continental tournaments but yesterday in Algiers, the Nigerian broke the jinx to emerge as the new African Men Champion.
Both players were not really tested at the ITTF African Senior Championships until the final where they both played their best match in the tournament.
Aruna won the title in a comeback fashion having been down 2-0 against the Egyptian and was on the verge of losing again when Assar was leading 3-1. But the Nigerian tenacity and prowess came to the fore as he fought back to level at 3-3 and was leading in the final game for the tie to go into 12-12.
Good shots from the Nigerian were all he needed to conquer the Egyptian and claim his first continental title since 2018. Aruna won 4-3 (8-11, 9-11, 11-8, 6-11, 11-7, 13-11, 14-12)
An elated Aruna described the tie as energy-sapping while he lauded his opponent for a good display. “I think I gave my all and even when I was down I did not give up. I think I just stayed focused and this worked out for me and I am happy that my efforts in Algiers paid off,” he said.
This win will shore up Aruna’s ranking in the world.