These are indeed the best time of Quadri Aruna's table tennis career. Barely four days after the Oyo-State born ping-pong player set an African record as the first from the continent to reach the quarter final stage of the ITTF World Table Tennis Championships, Aruna again became the first to be ranked 13th In the latest ITTF ranking released yesterday.
The Nigerian was ranked 17 in the world before the ITTF World Table Tennis Championships held in Houston, Texas, in the United States. But based on the feat he achieved some days ago, Aruna gained four steps up in the ladder to be rated 13th in the ITTF rating.
He was the biggest mover among the top 20 players in the world.
Aruna has continued to raise the bar for other African players to emulate with his superlative performance at major competitions which have also earned him a place among the top 20 players invited for the 2021 World Table Tennis (WTTF) Cup Finals scheduled for December 4 to 7in Singapore.
Speaking on the feat yesterday, an excited Aruna said the ranking means more work for him.
"I am so excited to improve my world ranking, and this means I must work hard to remain on top in the world. This is another task I must face in my career, and I will not relent to do my best as I look forward to the WTTF Cup Finals taking place this weekend in Singapore."
While commenting on the feat, the President of the Nigeria Table Tennis Federation (NTTF), Ishaku Tikon, said the latest achievement by Aruna would surely motivate other upcoming players to work harder.
"We are so excited that within one week, Aruna has set two African records as the first to reach the quarterfinal of the World Championships as well as the first African to be ranked 13th in the world.
"This for us as a federation means we must find another Aruna who can exceed what he has done. Our focus remains the cadet and junior ranks and we are going to ensure we organise tournaments and expose them to international competitions," observed the NTTF chief.
He further commended Aruna for his dedication and hard work.
"I must also commend Aruna for his conduct within and outside the table because he has shown to be a good ambassador of the sport and we hope to compliment this feat by ensuring we unearth more Arunas," Tikon said.
2021 World Championships runner's up Truls Moregard of Sweden has become the biggest mover on the latest ITTF ranking as the 19-year-old moved from 77th spot to 31st in the ranking, while newly crowned world champion Fan Zhendong of China held on to the top spot in the ranking.