Nigeria’s Quadri Aruna has been pitched against 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 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). Earlier 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.
Tokyo 2020 Olympicbound Senegalese fought his way to the fourth stage of the preliminary but the southpaw Japanese was too much for the African. As the only African competing in the main draw, Aruna who is among the 24 top players seeded for the tournament will square up against the Indian star on table one on Wednesday March 3. 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 the level for the first time with odds favouring the Nigerian. 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.