Nigerian table tennis star Quadri Aruna will be featuring for the second time at the WTT Cup Finals after the African champion joined the list of top 16 elite players listed for the $1m prize money championships in Xinxiang, China from October 27th to 30th.
Aruna who remains the only and first African to compete at the prestigious tournament alongside other top 16 players in the world has again proved his worth after his qualification was confirmed by the organisers.
Despite suffering an opening round defeat of 3-0 (11-8, 11-9, 11-9) to Sweden’s Anton Kallberg at the WTT Championship in Macao, Aruna will leave with a WTT Cup Finals ticket of his own after Germany’s Timo Boll failed to beat 7th seed Lin Yun-Ju in Macao.
Boll still remains in contention but is now dependent on results elsewhere going his way. For the end-of-the-year WTT Cup Finals, Aruna’s spot was secured after Boll lost 3-2 (9-11, 14-12, 11-9, 7-11, 11-6) to Yun-Ju to give the Nigerian a passage to his second appearance at the lucrative tournament.
At the maiden edition of the WTT Cup Finals, Aruna made it to the quarterfinal stage and he will be making a return to the big stage where only the world’s 16 best will be sharing from the $1m purse.
If Aruna’s conqueror Kallberg exits in the round of 16, then Boll will take home the 15th ticket for Xinxiang, and the Swedish player’s chances of qualifying will come to an end.
As things stand, Chinese Taipei’s Chuang Chih-Yuan is currently Xinxiang bound, and can only lose his ticket if Kallberg, France’s Alexis Lebrun, or United States’ Kanak Jha makes the final in Macao or if one of Mattias Falck or Yang Wang lifts the Men’s Singles trophy.
Aruna is the only African to have featured in the WTT Cup Finals having qualified as the 14th player to Xinxiang alongside China’s trio of Fan Zhendong, Ma Long, Liang Jingkun, Japan’s Tomakazu Harimoto, Sweden’s Truls Moregard, and Brazil’s Hugo Calderano among others.