The reigning champion of the next ITTF Africa Cup, Egypt’s Ahmed Saleh, says current African number one on the continent, Aruna Quadri, will be the man to beat when the tournament begins.
At 42, Saleh loves competing in Lagos and as the defending champion of the upcoming ITTF Africa Cup, the Egyptian veteran believes the atmosphere at Teslim Balogun Stadium’s Molade Okoya-Thomas Hall is a factor. motivation for each player.
He is particularly concerned about the threat posed by the current form of Quadri Aruna who has set a new record as the first African to reach the WTT Star Contender semi-final in Doha, Qatar.
Considered Africa’s oldest active male table tennis player, Saleh is eager to come to Lagos to defend the title he won in Tunis in 2020 while admitting he is ready for the task ahead. ‘waits.
Saleh may not possess the speed and agility demanded by today’s table tennis, but what the Egyptian has in abundance is his tactical discipline.
Savoring his experience during his many previous visits to Lagos, the former African Games champion said: “Lagos is a unique place that every player will always want to play due to the lively atmosphere with the venue always packed with fans. It is a unique place for table tennis in Africa because no other country has this kind of atmosphere, even in some European countries you hardly see this kind of lively spectators who understand the sport But with the form current Aruna player, I have to be at my best to defeat players like him in Lagos.
“It’s motivating for us players to play in such an environment that you don’t lack the support you need to always want to give your best. I love the place and the fans because they support you regardless of your nationality, which for me is fair enough for all players,” he said.
“I will always do my best in every competition, but I must admit that the speed in sport is higher now. I will continue to play even at 42 as long as my body can carry me because my life revolves around sport”, he added.
Meanwhile, the ongoing African Club Championships will enter a crucial phase today after teams from Nigeria, Egypt and Ivory Coast qualified for the knockout stage of the three-way tournament. days which will take place at the Molade Okoya-Thomas Hall of the Teslim Balogun Stadium.