Nigeria Aruna Quadri on Saturday said he felt the absence of an Egyptian, Omar Assar, at the ongoing 2018 Seamaster ITTF Nigeria Open in Lagos.
The defending champion in the men’s singles title, Assar, is serving one year ban from international competitions by the Egyptian Table Tennis body.
Quadri said that the Egyptian, who is his number one rival in Africa, have good fans based in Nigeria.
“Assar’s absence at this year edition is felt, and he also has fans based in Nigeria and they are always eager to watch his game.
“We are enemies when playing on the table, but we are also best of friends when we are off the table,” he said.
Quadri said that Assar’s presence or absence at the competition had no effect on his performance and chances in the event.
Quadri and Assar rivalry had always been the focal point of the competition that began in 2013.
Assar had won the competition four times since its inception, making him the most successful player in the Nigeria Open.
A total of 169 players, comprising 101 males and 68 females from 27 countries, are taking part in the 46,000 dollars prize money event.
The competition, which started on Aug. 8 will end on Sunday at the Molade Okoya-Thomas Indoor Sports Hall of the Teslim Balogun, Stadium, Lagos.