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Aruna Clinches First African Men’s Singles Title

Nigeria’s Quadri Aruna on Sunday won the Men’s Singles title at the 2018 ITTF African Championships in Mauritius, the first time in his career.

He beat veteran and three time champion, Egypt’s Ahmed Ali Saleh (11-7, 6-11, 13-11, 11-9, 11-1). The victory came  one month after he won the  2018 ITTF Challenge Seamaster Nigeria Open in Lagos.

In Agadir two years ago, Aruna was  the runner up.

Aruna in the semi-final in Mauritius had beaten compatriot Olajide Omotayo (11-9, 11-6, 11-5, 11-3), while  Ahmed Ali Saleh who will celebrate his 39th birthday next month accounted for Nigeria’s 44 year-old Segun Toriola (8-11, 11-7, 9-11, 11-8, 11-3, 11-9).

“I am so happy that I was able to win this title for the first time having come close in 2016.

“My next target is the All African Games title because the likes of Segun Toriola and Omar Assar have won this and I am hoping that I can win this as well.

“I must express my appreciation to the Mauritians for their support; their enormous support kept me going throughout the competition.

“It is great again winning another title 28 days after winning the ITTF Challenge Seamaster Nigeria Open in Lagos.” Aruna told reporters in his post-match reaction.

Aruna’s title will make it the ninth to be won by Nigerians in the Men’s Singles events at the African Championships. Atanda Musa blazed the trail in 1985   in Alexandria, Egypt, when he beat fellow Nigerian Yomi Bankole .

Nigeria has not won the title since  2002  when Segun Toriola beat colleague Monday Merotohun in Bizerte, Tunisia.

Toriola followed up winning the Men’s Singles title at the Commonwealth Games in Manchester, the first time table tennis was included in the multi-sport event.

Although  Ahmed Ali Saleh lost to Aruna in Mauritius, he remains the most successful African singles player, making five finals and winning three.

He won in  Addis Ababa in 2000,  Brazzaville 2007  and  Yaoundé 2010.

Credit: TheNation

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