By Mudashiru Shittu
It was an anticipated victory for tournament’s top seed and Africa number one player, Aruna Quadri when he was paired against compatriot Abiodun Olabode in the round of 16 of the 2017 ITTF Challenge Nigeria Open in Lagos.
But when the game reached near climax, it became obvious that Aruna’s dream of wining his first ITTF Challenge title has eluded him once more.
Prior to coming to the Nigeria Open in the men’s singles event at the 2017 ITTF Seamaster Challenge, Portugal-based Biodun Olabode has only one international appearance – 2017 ITTF World Tour Hungarian Open in Budapest in January.
The 35-year-old, who was teammates with Aruna Quadri in Sporting Lisbon, got a lesser share of the applause and cheers from the spectators but was vindicated by defeating the top seed 4-2 (11-9, 7-11, 11-5, 12-10, 9-11, 11-9) to qualify for the quarter-finals.
“I feel good and great to defeat one of the top players in the world. Before the game, I believed in myself and I know that there is nothing impossible,” Olabode said.
With a career that has spanned over 10 years, the unseeded player said defeating Aruna is the most memorable moment in his career.
“Defeating Aruna is the most memorable moment in my career. I never expected to defeat him but maybe because we were teammates in Sporting Lisbon.”
Olabode went ahead to qualify for the semi-finals after defeating India’s Shetty Sanil 4-3 to set up a clash with another Indian – Gandhi Sarthak – in the semis slated for Sunday.