by Ian Marshall ITTF Publications Editor (interviews by Olalekan Okusan)
Notably, the only African player to win an ITTF World Tour Women’s Singles title when she succeeded in Nigeria in 2014; for the past three years, Nadeen El-Dawlatly had been troubled with knee problems.
“The knee first started to hurt me during the 2013 World Championships in Tokyo, Japan and it went on and off since then. It was not that big back then but it gradually increased because I didn’t have time to rest at all and properly treat it. I have been doing all I can to treat it without surgery but after the Rio 2016 Olympic Games , it had reached an advanced stage that it can’t be treated except with surgery. The last time I practised was the end of September 2016 and that is the longest time I have never played table tennis.” Nadeen El-Dawlatly.
The decision undergo surgery meant that Nadeen El-Dawlatly did not participate in the ITTF-Africa Senior Championships staged in Agadir, Morocco later in the year in October.
“I miss everything about table tennis from wearing the sportswear to winning and losing. I miss being tired after doing multi-ball and out of breath. I miss playing matches so much, all the wining and the losing. I miss the feeling of having a mission or a challenge, most of all I miss playing it and enjoying every piece of it and of course I miss all my teammates who were very supportive during my recovery”, Nadeen El-Dawlatly.
Four months absence, it means that the name of Nadeen El-Dawlatly, who one year ago in January 2016, stood at no.173 on Women’s World Rankings, no longer appears on the listings. The most recent position was no. 208 in December.
“I know my ranking will surely go down because of inaction; it is now left for me to be more motivated to come back even stronger and to do my best and I believe I will”, Nadeen El-Dawlatly
A challenge awaits for Nadeen El-Dawlatly; however, now she can face that challenge with an extra degree of support.
On her love life cum engagement, she said: “I got engaged right after the Rio 2016 Olympic Games as had scheduled it after the biggest event because we had no events soon. It was very special to me and was definitely the happiest day of my life so far. I was lucky to enjoy it with my family and my team. My fiancé’s name is Ahmed Abdelbary; he was a former table tennis player, who has also travelled with the national team before. I have known him since I was seven and now he works as a national prosecutor. He is one of the amazing fun persons I have ever met and without his support I would not have got through all of this”, Nadeen El-Dawlaty.
Eager to return to action; Nadeen El-Dawlatly is motivated and motivated by a the achievements of Nigeria’s Olufunke Oshonaike, the winner of the Women’s Singles title at the 2016 ITTF-Africa Senior Championships.
“With Olufunke Oshonaike winning the Women Singles title after more than a decade means that everything is possible with hard work and motivation; her victory has indeed encouraged me even more. No matter what life and circumstances bring, there is always a way to achieve your dreams and I really hope and seek to be like her in future”, Nadeen El;-Dawlatly
Clearly, Nadeen El-Dawlatly is eager to return to action; she is ready for the challenge and undoubtedly looks forward to lining up alongside her erstwhile colleague Dina Meshref.
The two players have been the backbone of Egyptian success in recent years and have formed a most effective doubles combination.
“It is always a challenge to win back ones’ place in the national team after a long absence because all young players seek to prove themselves and do their best against us. It is a beautiful challenge because we all tend to increase the level of table tennis in Egypt and of course I am going to do all I can to maintain my position for as long as I can”, Nadeen El-Dawlatly
No doubt Nadeen El-Dawlatly and Dina Meshref will be on national team duty in 2017; both excelled at junior level, now they are seasoned campaigners on the senior scene.
“Table tennis has really reached an amazing level and at world level yet I know there is still more. Africa is coming! My targets are getting back stronger in table tennis and being number one in Africa as well as increasing my world ranking. I am also hoping to graduate June from the College of Engineering. I must admit that it has really been a very hard five years for me to be able to be on top in sports and academics. Finally, we are planning to get married this year too. So it is a lot of excitement and challenges.”
A busy year lies ahead for Nadeen El-Dawlatly, one she will remember in more ways than one; congratulations!
Nadeen El-Dawlatly with fiancé Ahmed Abdelbary (Photo courtesy of Olalekan Okusan)