by Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Editor
Furthermore, in the initial stage of proceedings, she was the only player to cause an upset; the no.18 seed, after losing to Austria’s Liu Jia, the no.12 seed (11-7, 11-7, 11-3, 11-5), she accounted for Germany’s Sabine Winter, the no.15 seed (11-4, 11-8, 11-8, 11-3).
Second place in the group meant progress to the main draw where adventures were ended by China’s Liu Shiwen, the no.2 seed (11-5, 11-6, 11-6, 11-2).
Recently Dina Meshref spoke to Olalekan Okusan, the ITTF-Africa Press Officer.
“For me, this year was one of the World Cups I have enjoyed the most, regardless of the results. Playing on just one table with the crowd focusing on the match being played and cheering for nice points made me really enjoy the game.
Also, it was so special to me this time because I got to finally visit the country where I was born. I was also accompanied by my mother, it made me very happy that she had the chance to see me play well in the international level.
As for my game, I was so happy to be able to perform well, especially against the German Sabine Winter, the match that helped me moved to the main draw. It was such a nice feeling to perform well and make it to the main draw after beating one of the top players.
Actually, I prepared really well before the World Cup. I really wanted to perform to the level of my preparation. In the first match, I wasn’t satisfied because I played against a very experienced player, Liu Jia from Austria. I was afraid of not being able to perform as I had expected before going to Canada. However, in the second match of the group stage, I finally found my game, just as in training before the World Cup.”
I think African players, including me, need intense practice in order to try to better compete on the global level. European and Asian players are very good; this means we need to find ways, training camps, more matches in order to be up to their level. I learned that it is very important to prepare well before a match in terms of warming up, because I think that before the second match against the German player, I warmed up better than I did before the first match against Liu Jia; this helped me play better.
Also, after playing against China’s Liu Shiwen, I noticed that there is still much to do in order to further improve my level. I need to work on speed, power of strokes and footwork.
Despite losing four-nil against her, I was satisfied with my performance; I felt that my game was fine, she was better than me. It made me feel that there is still a lot to learn and improve in my game. I really enjoyed playing against one of the top Chinese players. It was so different than playing any other match in my life; it’s just a whole different level of table tennis.
For female players, I believe that high level European and Asian players are more consistent and faster than African players. Also, I guess they practise for many more hours than African players.”