Lockdown Diaries: Aruna Quadri confident of Olympic qualification

Ranked 18 in the world, Quadri will be representing TTC RhonSprudel Maberzell Fuldae in the Bundesliga league from September 2020.

Aruna Quadri in action during the Ultimate Table Tennis League at Shiv Chhatrapati Sports Complex in Pune.   -  VIVEK BENDRE

Aruna Quadri is one of the most sought-after players in European clubs now. A Nigerian by birth, the 31-year-old has plied his trade in Portuguese and French clubs.

Ranked 18 in the world, Quadri will be representing TTC RhonSprudel Maberzell Fuldae in the Bundesliga league from September 2020.

The management of the club was all praise for the Nigerian. In its website, the club said: “When looking for a suitable candidate to compensate for the departure of service provider Croatia’s Tomislav Pucar, the TTC has now found what it is looking for. He will strengthen the TTC from next season.”

In Lisbon during COVID-19, Quadri is spending quality time with his family.

Speaking to Sportstar, he said: “The situation is just like how it is in the rest of the world. Everyone should stay safe.”

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While insisting that it is difficult for a top-level sportsperson like him, Quadri said he is doing what he could do under the circumstances.

“I am enjoying my time with family. It is difficult as I don’t have a table tennis in my home. Even if you have one, it will be not the same as in tournaments where you will not have the space to move. But I do my regular exercises including running to keep fit. Nothing can be done about it. At this moment, health is wealth," he said.

In the ITTF-Africa Top 16 Cup in February, which was the Olympics qualification tournament, Quadri sustained a thigh injury, which stymied his hopes of making it to Tokyo. But Quadri felt that his chances of making it are bright- "more than 90 per cent.”

He said he will qualify in the World Olympic qualification tournament in Qatar. "I will definitely make it," said Africa's top-ranked player, who became the first from his country to reach the quarterfinals in the Olympics at Rio.

Having played in the first two editions of Ultimate Table Tennis League, Quadri was all praise for its organisation. “It was like a family. It was one of the best-organised leagues in the world. I learnt a lot from the very talented Indian players; it was mutual I believe.

Quadri said he is totally recovered from the thigh injury and is eagerly awaiting the lockdown to be lifted. “This is the best decision. Things will be OK soon,” he said.