by Simon Daish (Interviews by Olalekan Okusan)
Dina Meshref had entered the 2016 Africa Senior Championships as the reigning Women’s Singles champion having beaten Congo Brazzaville’s Han Xing in the previous year’s competition. Egypt’s 22-year-old Meshref was unable to repeat that success against Olufunke Oshonaike, however, as the opponent from Nigeria claimed her third trophy in the category.
Yet, only a matter of months after missing out on winning a second Africa Senior Championships Singles title at the event in Agadir, Morocco, Dina Meshref has stated that she is happy with the result and will look to use the defeat as a learning experience.
“The singles title lost in Morocco was one of the things that I felt grateful to happen, since the lessons learned out of it are definitely much more valuable to me and to my career than those of winning the title that I have once won before in 2015… I learned a lot of lessons; it was like a wake-up call for me as well, it created a new challenge for me and challenges are what push any player to improve his or her level and work harder.” – Dina Meshref.
While Meshref may not have been able to claim the Women’s Singles trophy in Agadir, 2016 will still go down as another successful year for the Egyptian player following her capture of three gold medals at the 2016 Africa Senior Championships and appearances at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro and the Seamaster 2016 Women’s World Cup in Philadelphia.
“2016 as any other year had its ups and downs. I have learned a lot of new lessons in all aspects of life including table tennis. I am grateful for everything that has happened in 2016. As for table tennis I thank God and I am very happy that I won the African Top 16 Cup title for the second time and qualified for the 4th time for the Women’s World Cup that was held in United States, where I performed well and qualified for the main draw. I am also very happy to win the African Championships Women’s Team title, Doubles title with my cousin – Yossry Helmy and retain the Mixed Doubles title with Omar Assar.” – Dina Meshref.
Moving into the 2017 calendar, Dina Meshref is hoping to build upon her campaign from last year – the aim of climbing the world rankings table being one of the main targets to accomplish over the course of her year.
“In 2017, I hope I can improve my world ranking to be among the top 100 again. I also wish to make good use of all the lessons learned in 2016. I hope they will make a difference in my game and my results. I hope I can make some new records and surprises in 2017.” – Dina Meshref.