ATTF optimistic Quadri will still play at Tokyo 2020 Olympics
Reacting to speculations over the possibility of eventual non-qualification of Africa’s highest-ranked player for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games, the ATTF President, Khaled El-Salhy said: “For sure, the participation of Aruna Quadri 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.
“Normally he should have qualified in the African Qualification Tournament, unfortunately, he could not continue due to his sudden injury during the third stage of group matches.
“Now, the situation is that we have fulfilled two qualification stages (Team Qualification & Continental Qualification), then ATTF should work hard together with NTTF for the coming stages of qualification,” he added.
According to ATTF chief, the first qualification for Quadri is to attend the final World Singles Qualifying Tournament, which will be held in Qatar from May 28 to 31, with eight top players expected to qualify from the tournament.
However, he said the last option, which the Nigerian had met, is through the June 2020 ITTF World Ranking with the top 13 players in the world expected to get their qualification through their world rating.
For the Olympic Games, El-Salhy said 86 men and 86 women were expected to compete in Tokyo 2020 with each country having two players each in men and women’s events.
For now, Olajide Omotayo remains the only Nigerian that has qualified as Nigeria still has one more slot to be part of the tournament.
“I completely believe that a top player like Aruna Quadri has a very big chance to join the African qualifiers through one of the remaining two stages of qualification due to his ranking and super performance whenever he recovers from his injury soon,” the ATTF boss said.
“I have to admit that Aruna Quadri 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.