Former Nigeria Table Tennis Federation (NTTF) president Wahid Enitan Oshodi believes Aruna Quadri possesses the skill set to win World and Olympics titles as well as become firmly established as a top ten player on the ITTF tour.
Mr. Oshodi has been a staunch anchor in Quadri’s career since first encountering the now 32-year-old at the 2006 National Sports Festival in Abeokuta.
Even then, Quadri’s grit and excellence as a teenager stood him out and endeared him to Mr. Oshodi who has played an instrumental role in Quadri’s rise as a professional.
From those humble beginnings, Quadri has gone on to establish himself as one of the world’s leading players but Mr. Oshodi maintains that the player can climb even higher up the rankings.
Currently ranked number 20 in the world, Quadri who is also Africa’s top ranked player has never climbed higher than 18 on the global rankings.
And Mr. Oshodi says Quadri who stunned the world when he beat German legend and former number one ranked Timo Boll to become the first and only African to reach the quarterfinals of the men’s singles at an Olympics at the 2016 Games in Rio, is a vastly improved player who should be firmly ensconced in the top 10.
“I believe Quadri is a top 10 player. He is one of the few players in the world who has the class to win a World or Olympic title,” Mr. Oshodi who is also the Chairman of ITTF Nomination Committee told the NTTF media channel.
“If he has a good run in any tournament he could win it. He just needs to focus properly and he can do it as he has shown. He is capable of beating anybody in the world and he is now proving that consistently.
“The top players are always nervous because of his relentlessly powerful forehand and now that he has added a great defence and reliable backhand to his game I think we would soon see him in the top 10.”
Quadri recently moved to the German Bundesliga to play for TTC RhönSprudel Fulda-Maberzell after ending his association with Portuguese side Sporting Lisbon.
The move, Mr. Oshodi believes is a positive for Quadri’s career and will ensure he continues to improve.
And while Nigeria has produced many tennis greats in the men’s and women’s games, Mr. Oshodi believes Quadri’s successes is paving the path for many Nigerian professionals and his efforts have serves to show many young Nigerians that the sport is a viable career path to a fulfilling life.
“His move to Germany, the premier league of world table tennis will also ensure he continues to progress. More sponsors are now making overtures to him and the financial stability that comes with being a top player will also help him keep his focus,” Mr. Oshodi noted.
“Quadri is already a table tennis great but more importantly his performances are opening doors for a lot of talented young gifted Nigeria and African players.
“Professional table tennis is now a career choice for many due to his achievements.”