18th July, 2021
Team Nigeria captain, Aruna Quadri, is now the highest-rated African tennis player.
The Nigerian has been seeded number 15 among the players in the men’s singles competition of the table tennis event at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.
Aruna took the 15th spot among the 65 players listed for the singles event at the Olympics which kicks off Friday in Tokyo.
However, he will be hoping to exceed in Japan his quarter-final finish at Rio 2016.
Having qualified for Tokyo based on his world rating, he will now be awaiting his first-round opponent when the draws hold this week.
Egypt’s Omar Assar is seeded 28th, while Aruna’s compatriot —- Olajide Omotayo —- is seeded 49th in the men’s singles.
In the women’s singles, six-time African women champion, Egypt’s Dina Meshref, has been seeded 19th.
Nigeria’s Offiong Edem is seeded 53rd among the 70 athletes competing in the women’s singles event, while seven-time Olympian Olufunke Oshonaike is 60th.
Meanwhile, China’s Fan Zhendong and Chen Meng have been unveiled as the top seeds for the men’s and women’s singles categories.
Making his first appearance on the Olympic stage in Tokyo, 24-year-old Fan Zhendong is bidding to become the sixth Chinese player to take home men’s singles gold.
Meanwhile, fellow Fan’s compatriot and defending champion Ma Long, who has been named as the number two seed, will attempt to recapture the magic of five years ago.
He will be defending his highly sought-after title at the Tokyo Metropolitan Gymnasium.
Seeded third is homeboy 18-year-old Tomokazu Harimoto is bound to catch the eye as the ever-improving teenager looks to guide Japan to a historic first gold medal in the category.
Also, Brazil’s Hugo Calderano and Chinese Taipei’s Lin Yun-Ju have been named the fourth and fifth seeds respectively in the men’s singles draw.
They are ahead of Sweden’s Mattias Falck, London 2012 bronze medallist Dimitrij Ovtcharov and fellow German Timo Boll.
A new women’s singles champion will be crowned, with all eyes firmly fixed on two Chinese debutants looking to make it nine gold medals in a row for them.
Making the summit of the list, top seed Chen Meng leads the way with Sun Yingsha occupying the immediate position below on the list.
China also leads the way in both the Men’s Team and Women’s Team events in pursuit of a fourth-straight gold medal finish in both categories.