12 Apr 2017

His calmness coupled with his lightening quick reflexes most times confused his opponents and his quality distinguished, 13-year-old Mohamed Azzam of Egypt is making an appearance at the 2017 ITTF African Junior and Cadet Championships in Tunis.

His quality reminds one of the qualities that Omar Assar possessed as a junior player, but Mohamed Azzam’s unique calmness portends a great future for the bespectacled teenager sensation.

by Olalekan Okusan, ITTF Africa, Media Officer

Individually, he has remained unbeaten in the team event while he is a potential title contender in the Cadet Singles competition at the championships.

However, the student of Cairo-based Egypt Dream Language School says he hopes to follow the path of his role model – Omar Assar, whom he described as a great inspiration to Egyptians.

“I started playing table tennis as six with my sister who was also a player. Initially when I started table tennis, it was fun and very easy but recently I realised that it is a difficult game and that you must always be at your best. But I am not going to be discouraged and continue to work hard to fulfill my dream of becoming the best player in Africa in few years to come,” Mohamed Azzam.

The Egyptian Cadet national champion described the huge support he has been getting from his parents as a motivation to excel in the sport.

“My parents never discouraged me from following my dream in table tennis, they support me a lot by driving me to training and providing all that I need for me. Apart from this, they never stop telling me to continue to work hard,” said the Zamalek of Egypt star.

The youngster however, admitted that marrying sport with academics has not been an easy task.

“I will not tell you that it has been easy managing table tennis and studies. It is very difficult but I ensure I manage it very well,” he said.

For Mohamed Azzam, to remain champion in Egypt is not as easy as winning it.

“To remain a champion in Egypt is not that easy because you have to always work hard and ensurethat  you maintain your form. You have to also train physically to be the best”, Mohamed Azzam.

As long as Mohamed Azzam admires his compatriot – Omar Assar, he cannot ignore his soft-spot for the quality of China’s Ma Long.

“I love Omar Assar because he is a great champion in Egypt and Africa. But Ma Long is a player I love a lot because he is such a fantastic player who is respected across the world,” the teenager said.

2017 African Junior & Cadet Championships 2017 ITTF-Africa Junior and Cadet Championships Mohamed Azzam

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