Aruna Quadri named best table tennis player in the world
Nigerian Aruna Quadri was adjudged the men’s player of the year by the International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF) on Wednesday. Quadri beat strong competion in the form of World No. 1 Xu Xin, Youth Olympic champion Fan Zhendong, as well as European Team Championships gold medallist Marcos Freitas of Portugal.
“This is the best day of my career and my life,” said the African Cup champion, who started 2014 ranked as world No. 237 and ended it at No. 30, the highest ever ranking for an African player. “I feel so great to be the winner in the midst of the world’s superstars. This award means the world to me.”
“I also want to thank all my fans all over the world for their support because this is unbelievable for me and I promise to continue to work hard,” Quadri said.
Quadri’s against Olympics and World champion China’s Zhang Jike at last year’s ITTF Men’s World Cup was also named point of the year.
World No. 1 and 2014 ITTF World Cup winner Ling Deng won the women’s player of the year. Spain’s Alvaro Valera and Croatia’s Sandra Paovic won the men’s and women’s para table tennis player of the year awards respectively in a star studded awards ceremony at the Armani hotel at Burj Khalifa.
Pedro Rufino, who helped Portugal to European Championship success was named coach of the year.