20 Feb 2017

A debut in April 2015 at the Mauritius Junior and Cadet Open was the first step on the international ladder for Algeria’s Hiba Feredj; the next proved to be a giant stride.

At the immediately ensuing African Junior and Cadet Championships staged in the very same venue in Beau Bassin, she joined forces with colleagues, Lyda Loghraibi and Sannah Lagsir, to cause one of the year’s major upset.

by Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Editor

Contrary to expectations, the trio beat the Egyptian outfit comprising Salma Khaled, Reem Morad and Amira Yousry by three matches to one in a tension packed Junior Girls’ Team final.

Alas for Hiba Ferdj, she was the one player to experience defeat; in the third match of the fixture, she lost to Amira Yousry. Nevertheless, it was an experience never to forget; more recently she was on duty at the Sun International 2016 World Junior Championship in Cape Town and in the very near future she will be in international action once again.

The 17 year old, was born in Algeria but moved to live England when six years old, started to play table tennis when 12 year of age at London Academy in Edgware; two years ago when 15 years old she pledged allegiance to the country of her birth.

Now she leads Algeria at the forthcoming ITTF-African Junior and Cadet Championships. Play starts in Tunis on Monday 9th April and concludes on Saturday 15th April

She spoke to Olalekan Okusan, the ITTF-Africa Press Officer

I am very happy with my decision to play for the Algerian national team because at some point of my life I wanted to be able to play at international level, compete at high level. I am very honoured to represent my national team.

I have had an amazing experience so far with Algeria, winning at the African Junior and Cadet Championships and being able to qualify for the World Junior Championships. It has been a very good experience being able to see top class players compete; it feels like being part of something to play in the national team.

There have been many memorable moments in the past two year, I can’t really choose. Playing my first competition at the African Championships and winning gold was a really good moment. Also it was special when I had the opportunity to play in the World Championships in Malaysia and the World Junior Championships in South Africa. It’s always a moment to remember especially when you win gold, hear your national anthem played and the flag raised.

I am going down the right path and when you love the sport you can’t stop. You keep on going and I want to achieve a lot more in table tennis; I want to become a top class player and one day go to the Olympics. I want to go as far as possible; my family and coach, they help me to follow my dream, I thank them for motivating me and pushing me

Yes of course Algeria can compete for a podium place in Tunis. We have done it once so we can do it again. After all anything is possible and with hard work comes great reward. As long as we work hard then we can do it.

My target for this year’s African Junior Championships is to go as far as possible and hopefully win the competition. It will be good to win gold and do well in the team event as well. Overall I hope I to play to my full potential and do well.

Table tennis has made me the person I am today. It is something that I love and is in my blood. It has given me great opportunity; I have a fighting spirit to never give up and keep going. Also being active in table tennis has given me the chance to travel the world and see different cultures and most importantly it has allowed me to improve as a person.

African Championships 2017 African Junior & Cadet Championships Hiba Feredj

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