19 Sep 2017

Only 15 years old, Yukail Naidoo made his international debut at the 2016 ITTF African Junior Championships in Algiers, it was clear that the young South African had the skills but he was short of exposure, unlike his counterparts from Nigeria, Egypt, Tunisia and Algeria.

In 2017, his performance at the national qualifiers in South Africa earned a place in the team for the 2017 ITTF African Junior Championships in Tunis.

by Olalekan Okusan, ITTF Africa, Press Officer

Now the talents of Yukail Naidoo have been recognized by the Kwa Zulu-Natal Department of Sport and Recreation.

On Friday 15th September, he was named Junior Sportsman of the Year at the annual Kwa Zulu-Natal Sports Awards staged at the Chief Albert Luthuli International Convention Centre in Durban. It is the first time that table tennis has received the award.

“I was shocked to receive the award as the two other nominees were highly achieved sportsmen. After a while the reality sunk in I was overwhelmed as this was such a big achievement. It is one of my most prized achievements. It means a lot that my province recognises my accolades; being the best junior sportsman in the province for 2017 is meaningful. The achievement would not be possible without the support and dedication of my parents and my sibling, Kiara Naidoo who is my training partner, she pushes me beyond my limits.” Yukail Naidoo

The award recognises exceptional performances and sporting accomplishments of athletes and administrators from the province.

“It is another stepping stone that inspires me to aim higher in the sport. It reminds of how much can be achieved. I would like to take my game to the highest possible level. My main goals are to represent my country at the Olympic Games as well as the World Championships.” Yukail Naidoo

Notably, Yukail Naidoo has been the South Africa champion for three consecutive years is undefeated in singles events in his age category in singles.

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