by Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Manager
Fast counter top spin rallies are now the norm when the world’s best female players are concerned; the notable feature with regards to the contest in Muscat was that Hana Goda is only 10 years old; Ananya Chande is just one year older.
The verdict went in favour of Hana Goda in four games (12-14, 11-4, 11-8, 11-8).
“I was playing too fast in the opening game; when I play too fast I lose. I was not in a good rhythm. I used to think that if I lost the first game I would lose the match, now I think I will win; I was motivated and focused.” Hana Goda
Seeking to execute her favoured forehand top spin at every opportunity as well as responding vocally to every success, Hana Goda recovered but make no mistake Ananya Chande, a young lady who displayed a very good feeling for the ball, proved a most worthy opponent.
Win or lose, the most satisfying aspect of the match was that both players displayed a most positive attitude; neither waited for the other to make an unforced error. If both young ladies maintain that approach, in the years to come prestigious titles will surely accrue.
The slight difference as the match progressed was the fact Hana Goda stayed close to the table, whilst Ananya Chande retreated, it enabled the Egyptian to assume control.
Hana Goda, who started to play table tennis when only four years old, as with many leading Egypt players such as Dina Meshref and Nadeen El-Dawlatly, practises at the Al-Ahly Club in Cairo; it is also the club where Omar Assar and El-Sayed Lashin honed their skills.
“I think my topspin play is my strength but I think I need to be better over the table.” Hana Goda
Practising each day, either at home or at the El-Ahly Club; there is a most professional organisation in place to help Hana Goda realise her dreams. At home in Cairo, Dr Mehat Salah fulfils the role of fitness coach; there is a mental coach in the guise of Mohamed El Saied, whilst Hisham Ismail is the coach at the Al Ahly Club.
Success for Hana Goda, defeat for Ananya Chande but for me both were winners.