by Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Editor
However, a car accident later in the year in September meant an enforced break; however, the young man from Cairo is looking forward to returning to international action in the very near future.
He spoke to Olalekan Okusan, the ITTF Africa Press Officer
After I retained the Under 21 title at the Nigerian Open and also I won the African title in Algiers, the harsh economic situation in Egypt meant I could not attend tournaments. Unfortunately, I had a car accident in September 2016 which prevented me from playing the game for more than one month.
My dream of becoming the best table tennis player in Africa is still intact but before aiming for this, I know I have to become the national champion in Egypt. I want to dominate for years and to reach the top 80 in the world ranking, as well as having the opportunity to play for European club, maybe in France or Portugal or even Germany.
Of course, Aruna Quadri is our African inspiration after his result at Rio 2016. He has raised the ceiling of all African players’ ambitions; the performance and results of Quadri Aruna and Omar Assar have had a great effect on me; it makes me train harder and harder.
There is a big gap between the ages of our generation, the age difference between me and El-Sayed Lashin is 16 years. So it’s not that easy to beat a champion like Lashin. It is only a matter of time, inshallah, to secure my place in the senior national team.
Having great and well-organised tournaments in Africa like the Nigerian Open and good results from African players in big tournaments, this will surely have the effect on the popularity of table tennis in Africa. I hope I can make a difference for my country and our continent.
Now in Egypt table tennis is not in its best condition due to some economic issues; in the past five months, we only had league matches and a national tournament which is not enough to improve yourself. I’m practising every day and doing the best to be able to achieve my dreams step-by-step.
My target in 2017 is to maintain the high level I reached in 2016. I want to maintain my place in the national team by beating some experienced and older players in Egypt in the next national league matches; that is my target for this year.