Aruna Quadri remains an enigma and icon in the Africa and Nigeria Table Tennis circle. The amiable, soft spoken Quadri who hails from a humble beginning in Oyo, Oyo state in Nigeria commands a huge fan base and fanatical followership that sparks up any event that he is a participant.
Haruna Quadri’s success at the just concluded 2018 ITTF Seamaster Challenge Nigeria Open that held in Lagos from the 8th to 12th August, 2018 is a testimony of his deposition to his cult like fans and patience under pressure as a professional sport’s man and celebrity. He broke the jinx by making history as the first Nigerian to win the coveted ITTF Challenge open trophy
We can’t talk about the 2018 Challenge Open without acknowledging the role of the local spectators especially Aruna’s many fans and the fan club who brought life into the event with their continuous drumming and singing that clearly demonstrated that home support, thereby creating an esthetic atmosphere which is comparable to a football match. That clearly proved that Quadri enjoyed the home advantage.
While reviewing his tournament experience in an interview with Making of Champions, a social media facebook portal; he said
” The toughest match was the semi final’s against the guy from Thailand. if we recall the score line; the first 3 sets was 2 points difference so I was really lucky, if I was unlucky, I could really have lost the match with the same 4 – 0 margin. The other opponents I knew them as I have played them prior and they knew me. I didn’t know the guy from Thailand. His style of play was really strange to me”
Explaining the secret before his success, he said
” I have several secrets. Firstly, God then the second, is my wife because if you are travelling and going for practice and someone is just there alone taking care of the kids, that is one of the greatest support…”
Married to a very supportive Mrs. Aruna Ganiyat, whose support was clearly obvious throughout the event and was so delighted by the victory at the final match that she was overwhelmed by her emotions that she performed a “rolling” dance on the floor in front of the crowd and fans in appreciation for their support. She had this to say;
” I must confess that I am the happiest woman on earth because that is what I have been dreaming off; that Quadri should win this year’s edition. I am so grateful and thank everyone for their support because the support really counted”
Speaking to Making of Champion, Funke Oshonaike had this to say about the tournament
“You don’t get this kind of crowd and spectator response on the global stage. It’s all very serious out there but you can see the followership here. I will love to return here even if it just to experience and to be part of this. I will really me it”
And on Aruna Quadri, she said
“I was tensed because he has been very unlucky. Let me tell you; the first, second one, third one, and even last when he lost to Bode, I really felt for him.”
She further noted his response to last year loss to his club mate, Olabode Abiodun
” Last year when he lost to Bode, he called me and said
Sister Funke, if only I can have this as a gift”
With this history making victory at the 2018 ITTF Seamaster Challenge Nigeria Open, Haruna Quadri will be seeded to defend his title in the upgraded Challenge plus event.