From all the 16 players competing in the 2020 ITTF Africa Top 16 Cup, Aruna Quadri, showed his status as the Nigerian remains unbeaten in the group matches at the three-day tournament holding in Tunis.
Unlike Egypt’s Omar Assar and Ahmed Saleh who had both dropped points, Quadri’s maintains a perfect record after thrashing Tunisia’s Adam Hmam and Algeria’s Sami Kherouf 3-0 win to top Group 1 of the men’s singles.
Despite the home support enjoyed by Hmam in the first group tie, the fans were disappointed at the manner Quadri dismissed their boy at the Rades Multi-Purpose Hall in Tunis.
From the beginning of the game, a business-like Quadri known for his ferocious forehand shot confused his opponent till the final point of the tie that ended 11-5, 14-12, 11-4 to the chagrin of the home fans.
To confirm his readiness to pick the top prize, Quadri went into the second match against Algeria’s Kherouf with same mindset and in less than 30 minutes he had dispatched his opponent in astonishing fashion winning 3-0 (11-2, 11-9, 11-2) over the 2019 African Games gold medalist.
But Quadri’s compatriot, Olajide Omotayo was on the receiving end in his second group tie against Senegal’s Ibrahima Diaw as the 2019 African Games gold medalist fell 1-3 to the Senegalese.
Omotayo had earlier humbled Congo DRC’s Gedeon Kassa 3-1 to be certain of advancing from the group.
Offiong Edem in the women’s singles is closed to qualifying for the knockout stage after beating Tunisia’s Safa Saidani 3-1 and following up with another round of 3-1 win over South Africa’s Simeen Mokrey.
Egypt’s Omar Assar, Ahmed Saleh and women’s single defending champion, Dina Meshref have booked their places in the knockout stage after claiming victories in all their matches.
The tournament continues today with the knockout stage (round of 16) and quarterfinal round while the semifinal and final hold tomorrow with winners in men and women event expected to represent Africa at the ITTF World Cups later in the year.