by Olalekan Okusan, ITTF-Africa Press Officer
At 10 years and three months old, Hana Goda grabbed the headlines when she finished in runners up spot in the Under 12 Girls’ Singles event at the 2016 Swedish Junior and Cadet Open.
In Tunisia as in Oman, Hana Goda is accompanied by her mother Radwa Azab and has the avowed aim of emulating her role model, compatriot Dina Meshref.
“When she was four years old, we were looking for sports she could take to and we decided to try swimming, gymnastics and handball but we found out that she did not like any of them. However, when we took her to Al-Ahly Club in Cairo, she started playing table tennis; it was Thursday 1st March, the club noticed that she was very intelligent on table so they made a special table for her to train because of her height. Since taking to table tennis, we noticed that she has become more sociable and very active even in her academics.” Radwa Azab
At present, Hana Goda is Egyptian national Under 12 Girls’ Singles champion and among the top four names in the Under 15 age group.
The journey to start playing internationally started for Hana Goda in 2015 when she featured in the Swedish Junior and Cadet Open; since then she has been a regularly at international tournaments.
A full itinerary, many of the trips are funded by her father, Professor Ayman Goda, who practises at Ain Shams University, Faculty of Medicine in Egypt; one of the largest educational medical institutions in Africa and the Middle East.
However, it is the mother who travels.
“I cannot fathom how the gift of the sport came to my daughter but what I know is that it is from God. Apart from her excellent performance in table tennis, she is very dedicated in her studies that most times when she misses a school assignment, she makes up for it after returning from her trip. I only give her tips whenever she is about to play but I have never sit behind her. Playing alone has really helped her confidence and for us this has made her more independent in whatever she wants to do.” Radwa Azab
Meanwhile, Hana Goda, eats, drinks and sleeps table tennis, furthermore, she is ambitious.
“I want to be an Olympian and be on top of the sport. Dina Meshref and Omar Assar have been my role models because they work hard and have confidence in themselves. They are also friendly people I would love to emulate.” Hana Goda
Aiming to be the best and of course mother wants the best for her daughter, funding everything is not easy.
“My daughter has been fortunate to get equipment support from Stiga. They have also supported her to attend a training camp in Sweden. Also the Al-Ahly Club has also been supportive as well but majority of the funding for the trips comes from my husband. We will be happy if my daughter can get the needed support to attend more competitions across the globe because I believe she has the ability and qualities to be among the top players. We will continue to support her dream and keep believing that she will not relent in her hard work.” Radwa Azab
Hana Goda is at present a member of the Egyptian Junior National Team.