Nigerian ping pong sensation, Aruna Quadri has become the second African to make the top 18 ranking in the monthly ranking of the International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF).
To achieve his highest career ranking, Quadri, who is the first Nigerian to enact the mark, rose from 20 to 18 in the rating released at the weekend by the world table tennis ruling body.
Quadri’s fortune in the monthly ranking improved following his performance at the Australian Open where he made it to the last 16 of the men’s singles.
With this rating, the Oyo State-born table tennis ace continues to halter his own record as the only Nigerian to achieve top 18 rating in the world.
It was Omar Assar of Egypt who still maintained the record as the first African player to be ranked in top 16 in the world but the inactivity of the Egyptian in the last two months may have caused his fortune in the world rating to plummet.
Assar, who will not be part of the 2018 ITTF Challenge Nigeria Open, dropped from 21 to 23 in the latest ranking.
Also, the new leader on the ITTF World Tour Standings; China’s XuXin is the player to make the most significant progress on the Men’s World Rankings issued for August 2018.
He climbs three positions to No.5 to replace Germany’s Timo Boll who drops one position to No.3, being behind compatriot – Fan Zhendong who continues to lead the list.
One place lower for Timo Boll, it is the same for China’s Lin Gaoyuan who drops to No.4 and Germany’s OvtcharovDimitrij, who now appears at No.5.
Japan’s TomokazuHarimoto progresses from No.8 to No.6 and is now ahead of China’s Ma Long and Korea Republic’s Lee Sangsu; each is one rung down the ladder lower than in July.
In the women’s rating, finalists at the recent 2018 ITTF World Tour Platinum Australian Open in Geelong, with Liu Shiwen beating Ding Ning in all Chinese final, both make notable progress on the Women’s World Rankings for August.
Former occupants of the top spot, Liu Shiwen climbs four places to No.2, being one behind colleague, Zhu Yuling who continues to head the list; Ding Ning makes an even greater move. Previously at No.17, she is now in the No.7 spot.
Women’s singles number one seed for 2018 ITTF Challenge Nigeria Open, Thailand’s SuthasiniSawettabut advances from No.59 to No.39, DPR Korea’s Kim Song I from No.55 to No.45, Japan’s Minami Ando from No.74 to No.46 and Singapore’s ZengJian from No.60 to No.50.
In reaction to his latest feat, Quadrisaid he believes the rating will accord him another great opportunity to make Nigerians proud, but admitted he must continue to work harder.
Quadri said: “I am so happy with the ranking particularly with my qualification for the ITTF World Cup in France. Again, this ranking has shown that I should not relax but continue to work harder because remaining on top is one difficult task for any athlete.
“I must redouble my efforts in training and continue to compete in major competitions across the globe. I will not be carried away by this rating but be humbled by this feat and remain focused in order to maintain my status in the global rating.”