by Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Editor
Currently, Dina Meshref holds every African title on offer and was on duty alongside colleagues Nadeen El-Dawlatly and Yousra Helmy at the recent Rio 2016 Olympic Games.
“I guess the Olympic preparation and the training camps I have completed will still have their effect on my game at the World Cup”, said Dina Meshref when speaking to Olalekan Okusan, the Press Officer for the African Table Tennis Federation.
“I trained very hard before the Olympics; now, I am going to continue preparing but in Egypt, where I am studying”, added Dina Meshref. “I hope I can reach the last 16; of course I strive for more but I want to think of it step by step; my goal is to reach the quarter-finals.”
Round reached in Düsseldorf
The last eight is the round that Quadri Aruna quite sensationally reached at the Liebherr 2015 Men’s World Cup in Düsseldorf, Germany; it is a major goal for the 22 year old Egyptian.
“The fact that African female players have not matched the male players in terms of performances at the World Cup, does not disturb me”, added Dina Meshref. “It makes me so proud to see any African player, whether a male or a female, reaching the later stages in any event whether the World Cup, a World Tour, the Olympics, or the World Championships.”
Source of inspiration
Undoubtedly Dina Meshref had every respect for Quadri Aruna who set new standards by reaching the last eight of the Men’s Singles event at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games.
“Any achievement achieved by an African player motivates the rest of us and inspires us to train more and play our best”, stressed Dina Meshref. “We are very proud of Quadri Aruna’s results and performances; we need to have more African players reaching the same and even higher stages.”
Respectful but correctly, Dina Meshref looks to herself not those of others and is very clear with her intentions.
“My target is to reach the quarter-finals hopefully because last year, winning against world ranked 19th at that time, Hong Kong’s Doo Hoi Kem and reaching the last 16, I guess the jinx was broken, as that was the first time ever among African females”, continued Dina Meshref. “I will strive to reach a later stage this year; I hope I can just perform well and bring out my best, I hope Africans and all others who watch my game in USA will enjoy watching my matches.”
A tough task awaits; especially when facing players from a part of the world which dominates the sport.
“I guess the Asians are more dedicated to table tennis; for example, I am a student and I give my studies a lot of time and effort”, concluded Dina Meshref.
It a balancing act for Dina Meshref but one step at a time; in 2014 in Linz it was farewell in the first phase, in 2015 in Sendai progress to the main draw, the next step is the last eight.
Clearly it is the avowed goal in Philadelphia.