Nigerian table tennis star Aruna Quadri has thanked the fans who supported him to win the International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF) Nigeria Open 2018.
The world’s no 18 won the tournament on Sunday after defeating his opponent from France, Harchard Antoine, at the Molade Okoya Thomas Hall of Teslim Balogun Stadium in Surulere area of Lagos.
“If not for my fans that supported me all the way, this victory would not have been possible and so, I want to thank the people for standing by me,” he said.
Quadri, who is the first Nigerian to win the ITTF, claimed a $5,000 prize and another $200 courtesy of the fair play award which was awarded to him.
Similarly, the best Nigerian home-grown player of the tournament, Jamiu Anyawale, was rewarded with a cash gift of $200.
Antonie, who is from France, was rewarded with $2,500 for emerging as the first runner-up of the men’s singles, while Guo Yan from China went home with $5,000 for winning the women’s singles.
Yan’s fellow compatriot, Sun Chen, was also awarded $2,500 for emerging as the first runner-up of the women’s singles.
Meanwhile, Lagos State Governor Akinwunmi Ambode has congratulated Quadri on his emergence as the first Nigerian to win the competition.
In a statement by his Chief Press Secretary, Habib Aruna, Governor Ambode assured table tennis fans that the state government would support the tournament in a bigger edition in 2019.
He said, “This is a major improvement from last year’s competition and again for the very first time in the last six years, we found a Nigerian winning the men’s singles and this brings a lot of excitement for me because I have been supporting table tennis and I know that next year’s tournament will be more exciting than this.”
“As a government, we are going to put more support; we put more financial support so that we can attract more people and also encourage more Nigerians to participate.
“You know we actually gave bonus to Nigerians that have qualified and that is also to encourage more of our own local players to compete internationally,” the governor added.