by Olalekan Okusan, ITTF Africa, Media Officer
Due to his passion for table tennis, the 70-year-old decided to set up a table tennis club for young people in Soukra, a city known as Orange city.
It started with over 70 children aged between seven and 10, and today the team has been pruned down to 20.
Explaining how it all began, Salah Gruida, who was with his students at the 2017 ITTF African Junior and Cadet Championships said:
“I joined the club in order to give back to the society and also to engage the young ones in meaningful activities as well as to keep them off vices. I initially started with 70 children but due to logistics, I pruned it to 20 to be able to focus more on them. The aim is also to produce future champions for Tunisia. They are young and impacting the knowledge on them early will help them to understand the basics of the game”, Salah Gruida.
With members of the club present at the Palais Des Sports D’El Mensah, venue of the championships to cheer their compatriots, Salah Gruida hopes that his students would be inspired watching the best junior players in Africa.
One member of the club, eight-year-old Ayoub Touati was so excited watching matches, while hoping that he would be encouraged to work hard in his dream of becoming Tunisian champion.
“I love table tennis because it is fun to me and coming to watch the ITTF African Junior and Cadet Championships will surely inspire me to aim for my dream of becoming the best player in Tunisia. Also seeing our Olympian – Saidani Safa coming to talk to us has really motivated us to dream big,” Ayoub Touati.
The students were clad in their orange shirts savouring every moment in Tunis.