The African Table Tennis Federation says Africa’s No.1 table tennis player, Nigeria’s Quadri Aruna, cannot afford to miss the Tokyo 2020 Olympics.
Aruna missed qualification for the Olympics from the African qualifying tournament after he failed to show up for his third game against Tunisia’s Adam Hmam after sustaining an injury in his loss to Senegal’s Ibrahima Diaw.
The ATTF in a statement released by its media office on Sunday, however said the Nigerian is Tokyo bound based on his world rating.
“For sure the participation of Quadri Aruna in the Olympic Games is very important to ATTF as the top African ranked player and his expected super performance in such special event as he did in the last edition in Rio 2016,” ATTF President, Khaled El-Salhy said.
“Normally he should have qualified in the African Qualification Tournament, unfortunately he could not continue due to his sudden injury during the 3rd stage of group matches.
“I have to admit that Quadri Aruna is a special top player in Africa and with his current ITTF ranking making him among the top 20 while his performance has shown worldwide in all previous World, Olympic, Continental and sanctioned events during the recent years. I think he cannot afford to miss the Olympic Games this year.
El-Salhy said the final World Singles Qualifying Tournament in Qatar between May 28 and 31, where eight top players are expected to qualify, also provides another opportunity for Aruna to qualify for the Olympics.
Three Nigerian players – Olajide Omotayo, Funke Oshonaike and Offiong Edem – have already qualified for the 2020 Olympics.