Former Africa’s Table Tennis legend, Bose Kaffo, has expressed disbelief over Quadri Aruna’s early exit from the table tennis event of the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, describing his defeat as far from what she expected from the African champion.
Aruna was beaten 15-13, 9-11, 6-11, 11-7, 7-11, 6-11 by Brazil’s Tsuboi Gustavo in his first game at the Tokyo 2020.
Speaking to The Guardian yesterday, Kaffo said, “Olympics is not just a game, but also for friendship. But I have a very different view about that. I think the addition of Quadri Aruna was supposed to bring hope for us in table tennis, but unfortunately, he is out of it.
“I had expected a better performance from him against this particular opponent he lost to. Though I am not trying to blame him, but as a high performance athlete I expected him to beat the Brazilian and progress to the next stage of the event.
“Aruna is just like our Usain Bolt in table tennis. It is like telling me that Usain Bolt could not qualify for the quarterfinals of his event at the Olympics. Then something must have gone wrong, and we should find out if something happened that we are not aware of.”
“That is not to also deny the performance of his opponent because you need to give credit to his opponent. The Brazilian must have done a lot of homework to beat Aruna on a day like that,” she said.
The five-time Olympian then added that the inclusion of Segun Toriola as coach of the table tennis team should have aided him to progress to the next stage of the event.
“I guess one of the reasons bringing in Segun Toriola as a coach was to give the players technical assistance during matches. There should be a question on what happened to the coaching management and the eventual exit of our players.
“Aruna’s coach that I know didn’t travel with him to the Olympics. So, one would then wonder why Toriola was not there with him, as he did when he got to the quarterfinals of the Olympics at Rio 2016.
“I played five times at the Olympics and I know you learn from one failure to another. In table tennis, we have a lot to do, especially with the crop of players we have now if we desire to get back to the top,” she said.