Fortune once again smile on Aruna Quadri in the July 2019 ranking released on Tuesday July 2 by the International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF) as the African champion gained two steps up the rating to be ranked 21st in the world.
Quadri, who was ranked 23 in June, gained some points following his outing at the ITTF World Tour China Open where he defied odd to make it to the second round after been listed among the top seeds and he remains the only African player in top 50 in the world.
The Oyo State-born athlete is at present in Busan, South Korea for the Korea Open and he is expected to start his campaign from the main draw of the men’s singles on Thursday July 4, will be hoping to retain his place among the top 30 in his bid to secure an automatic qualification to Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games in Japan.
Being the most active Nigerian globetrotting the world competing, Quadri who recently signed a three-year contract with Germany-based kit firm – Gewo remains favourite for the singles title at next month’s All African Games in Morocco while he will also be defending his title at the ITTF Africa Cup and ITTF Challenge Plus Nigeria Open in Lagos next come August 1 to 11.
Despite his displacement from the top 50 rating, Egypt’s Omar Assar started his return to the top after gaining eight steps up to be ranked 58 this month from the 68 he was in June.
Olajide Omotayo also gained one step to move from 129 to 128 in the latest ranking.
The only African female player in the top 50 in the world, Egypt’s Dina Meshref slide to 51 follwing her inactiveness in the last two months.
The highest ranked Nigerian female player remains Edem Offiong who also dropped to 158 from 150. Olufunke Oshonaike also dropped to 164 from 155.
But there is a tilt in the zenith of the men’s ranking as one of the table tennis’ great entertainers, the left-handed pen-hold extraordinaire Xu Xin of China rises to the summit of the men’s singles world ranking for the first time in nearly four and a half years.
Xu Xin’s rise to the top brings an end to Fan Zhendong’s 15-month reign as world no.1, and Zhendong has fallen to third place in the rating.
Significant movement on the men’s front, but it was the same in the women’s singles, where Chen Meng enters her second successive month as world no.1.