Aruna Quadri has been drawn against Romanian, Ovidiu Ionescu, in the preliminary round of the men’s singles of the 2023 ITTF World Championships Finals billed for Durban, South Africa, The PUNCH reports.
The 2023 World Championships Finals holds from May 20 to 28.
It’s been 84 years since the World Championships Finals were held in Africa, making this event a historic milestone for the sport.
Quadri, who is the highest-ranked African player and 12th in the world number 12, will be raring to get a step further at the tournament, having fallen short at the recently-concluded ITTF Africa Cup in Kenya.
The 34-year-old, who lost 4-1 in the men’s singles final to Egypt’s Omar Assar in the best of seven at the Moi International Sports Centre Kasarani indoor Gymnasium May 6, says staging the tourney in Africa after 84 years will inspire emerging players from the continent.
“It’s another opportunity and I hope we (Nigerian at the event) make it count this time,” Quadri said after the draw.
“It’s significant that the World Championships are being held here in Africa. It’s a platform to show Africans the sport’s thrill, inspire young players and get more fans. This is a positive step forward towards having more people loving the sport and wanting to be part of it.”
His compatriots were also handed easy draws in the preliminary rounds.
While Bode Abiodun faces Ruwen Filus from Germany, Taiwo Mati will battle Lubomir Jancarik for a place in the round of 64.
In the women’s category, former African champion, Olufuke Oshonaike, clashes with Charlotte Lutz from the US, while Offiong Edem tackles Zhu Chengzhu and Fatimo Bello competes against Liopa Santhy.