by Olalekan Okusan, Press Officer ITTF-African Table Tennis Federation
The thought of playing on home soil, Byrone Abrahams is on cloud nine.
“It is inexplicable feeling because my dream is coming true and at this moment I still can’t believe that I am going to play in the World Junior Championships”, said Byrone Abrahams.
Undoubtedly for locals, he will be the focus of attention.
“It is very hard to explain the emotions that I am feeling; it means a lot because I’m one of the few people in the country that gets to wear the national colours so I wear it with pride”, stressed Byrone Abrahams. “It also means that I’m one of the best in the country and I am representing those players that were not chosen to be in the team.”
Proud and the teenager cannot wait for play to start.
“I am looking forward with huge excitement to this competition because this is the highest for table tennis at junior level”, continued Byrone Abrahams. “I have been dreaming to play against the best, because there is a saying that to be the best you should play with the best.”
In Cape Town he will be in a theatre that witnesses the very best junior players in the world.
“I am well prepared for the tournament as I have been training very hard and playing many local tournaments but I need to work more on my tactical side of my game”, continued Byrone Abrahams. “My family is proud of me and my friend looks at me as a hero because I’m showing them that dreams can come true; my family is proud that they can boast about me, as they see me as a future star wearing the national colours.”
Proud and the young man is optimistic.
“I am sure we can win medals because table tennis is an unpredictable game as anything can happen”, he stressed. “We will take it one match at a time and give it our best, we are used to the conditions in Cape Town, so we don’t need to adapt to the altitude, it gives us the advantage.”
Very much at home but of course for Byrone Abrahams, as for all members of the South African Team, it is a very special occasion.
“It is unique because I’m getting a chance to play the best players in the world; this is my first World Championships and I will get a chance to prove myself and put South Africa under the spotlight of the table tennis world”, he explained. “Realistically speaking, my target for the South African team is that we make it to the top eight in the world but we are going for a medal; for the singles event, my target is top 16, anything more is a bonus.”
Certainly should he achieve those goals, it will be a massive accomplishment.
“My experience of being a member of the senior team will help during the competition because I’m getting to play at a high level; this will automatically increase my level”, explained Byrone Abrahams. “In my mind this has been the best preparation for the World Junior Championships.”
Also, Byrone Abrahams sees further advantages of having played for the senior team.
“It will also help with my leadership skills to lead my team to a possible medal”, he concluded. “I want to play to the best of my ability and to improve, it is the highest level of table tennis and it exposes the sport more to people in my country.”
A positive young man; in Cape Town an opportunity of a lifetime awaits.