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WTT Star Contender: Aruna gets bye to second round

Following his quarterfinal finish at the World Table Tennis (WTT) Contender Series last week, Quadri Aruna has been given a bye to the second of the men’s of WTT Star Contender which began at the weekend.

Aruna who was beaten 3-1 by Chinese Taipei’s Yun-Ju Lin in the quarterfinal may likely square up against Japanese sensation Harimoto Tamakazu in the third round if he scales through from the second round. He is expected to begin his campaign on Tuesday March 9.

However, Olajide Omotayo failed to make it beyond the first stage of the preliminary round of the WTT. Star Contender taking place in Doha, Qatar.

Drawn against Portugal’s Joao Geraldo in the second stage of the preliminary round, Omotayo who made it to the second stage of the preliminary round of WTT Contender Series played his heart out against the Portuguese who was beaten by Quadri Aruna in the last 16 of the WTT Contender Series last week.

From the start of the encounter, it was as if Omotayo was going to take his Portuguese counterpart to the cleaner after winning the first game at 11-8, but his opponent did not come unprepared as he won the second game at 11-4.

Again Omotayo restored his lead with a close 14-12 win in the third game while the win did not last for long before Geraldo levelled up in the fourth game at 11-3.

To prevent what happened to him against Omotayo’s compatriot Aruna last week, the Portuguese star led the fifth game from the start and this he followed through to win at 11-8 and complete a 3-2 victory over the Nigerian.

The defeat has cut short the stay of Omotayo in Doha being the only route for him to remain in the competition.

Meanwhile, the performance of Aruna in the WTT Contender Series continued to be applauded across Africa as the President of African Table Tennis Federation (ATTF), Khaled El-Salhy praised the Nigerian for putting Africa on the world map. “I am particularly impressed with what Aruna achieved in the WTT Contender Series being the first official WTT tournament and an African is getting to the quarterfinal amidst array of stars that featured in the competition.

“He was also unlucky in the quarterfinal against the Asian star. This is another good outing from Aruna whose performance would continue to inspire African players and open doors for them to play professionally in Europe. I hope and believe he can do well again in the WTT Star Contender this week,” the ATT boss said.

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