by Olalekan Okusan, ITTF Africa Press Officer
Currently, Kanak Jha plies his trade with Herne, a third division club in the German Bundesliga; that in itself is a challenge for the teenager but understandably, just as when he made his debut in the Liebherr 2014 Men’s World Cup in Düsseldorf, competing in a tournament that witnesses the very best in the world on duty, is a special privilege.
“I am so excited and happy to be part of this prestigious competition because not all players in the world compete in such tournaments. Only the best take part in this kind of championship. It will be exciting and emotional. Specifically, I don’t have a personal target as my aim is to help my team to do well.” Kanak Jha
Furthermore, he is currently in very good form. Recently, he won the Boys’ Singles event at the 2017 ITTF World Junior Circuit Finals in Luxembourg; that has undoubtedly boosted his confidence. The Grand Duchy was yet another stop in his global travels, still only a teenager, he has visited more countries than most do in a lifetime.
“I cannot quantify what table tennis has given me in life. It has taken me round the world. I have met several people I cannot imagine I would meet in life. I have met the American President and others. There is nothing I have achieved in life that has not been made possible by table tennis.” Kanak Jha
In the first phase of proceedings, the United States is drawn in the same group as Hong Kong. They select from Wong Chun Ting, Jiang Tianyi, Ho Kwak Kit, Lam Siu Hang and Ng Pak Nam. Also in the same group is Brazil; they field Hugo Calderano, Gustavo Tsuboi and Eric Jouti.
Could the contest between Brazil and the United States decide who gains a quarter-final place?
At the 2017 Latin American Cup in San José, Costa Rica, Kanak Jha beat Gustavo Tsuboi; food for thought.