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Quadri needs more support to become world best, says Obisanya

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Nigeria's Aruna Quadri serves to a teammate during a table tennis training session at the Riocentro complex in Rio de Janeiro on August 4, 2016, ahead of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games. / AFP PHOTO / JUAN MABROMATA

Nigeria’s Aruna Quadri serves to a teammate during a table tennis training session at the Riocentro complex in Rio de Janeiro on August 4, 2016, ahead of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games. / AFP PHOTO / JUAN MABROMATA

Following the feat of Aruna Quadri in the table tennis event at the Rio Olympic Games, where he got to the quarterfinal stage, former Coach of National Table Tennis Federation (NTTF), Babatunde Obisanya, has called on sports-loving Nigerians to assist the player achieve his dream of rising to the top in not too distant future.

Quadri lost 0-4 to world number one and eventual Olympic champion, Chinese Ma Long in the quarterfinal. But his hope in the sport was ignited after beating one-time world number and now number 13, Germany’s Timo Boll in the fourth round of the event.

Speaking with The Guardian yesterday, Obisanya said his major priority is how Quadri can be encouraged to maintain his current form. “The success of Quadri at Rio Olympics is a very good one, but we need to help him maintain this tempo. We should not be carried away by this feat yet because appropriate things still need to be put in place for Quadri, especially by the government for him to get there.

“This is a steady rise for Quadri to climb to the number one spot in the world in the next four to five years. The NTTF’s President, Barrister Wahid Oshodi, has been wonderful in his effort to see that this materialise in the organisation of different tournaments and exposure for these players. For Quadri especially, he needs to do whatever it takes to sustain his form. My prayer is that God will give him the power to do it,” he said.

Obisanya, who expressed sadness over government’s attitude in preparing the athletes before the start of the Games, said the authority is not paying adequate attention to table tennis unlike football. “We have been saying these times without number that no adequate attention is paid to the game of table tennis in the last 10 to 15 years. As soon as a sports minister is appointed, the next thing he focuses on is football. This has been the same story for some time now.

“All the ministers appointed seem to be blindfolded by one sport, football, and this has been to the detriment of other sports. And what makes matter worse is that square peg is always put in round hole in the appointment of persons as sports minister. It has always been frustrating working with such ministers,” he said.


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