by Olalekan Okusan, ITTF-Africa Press Officer
Having made his international debut in 1996, El-Sayed Lashin represented Egypt at several Continental Championships, All African Games and Olympic Games; he is twice a winner of the Francophone Games and three times the African Cup winner.
“I believe this is the best time to retire but I will continue as a club player as much as I can; for international play it is better to give chances to my brothers in the national team. It has been a big honour to be part of the Egyptian national team, a new generation now leads Africa and has established a good place on the map of world table tennis.” El-Sayed Lashin
Retirement but El-Sayed Lashin has wonderful memories of his time in the national team. Always his performance at the London 2012 Olympic Games when he beat Sweden’s Pär Gerell and Croatia’s Zoran Primorac before losing to Japan’s Jun Mizutani stands out, as does the Times Property 2013 World Team Cup in Guangzhou when Egypt beat Germany to secure the bronze medal.
“It has been a pleasure to be a part of the team particularly with all the generations that I played with and against over 20 years. I will forever cherish every moment in the colours of Egypt because every success we had together, we did it together; particularly the third place finish at the 2013 World Team Cup in Guangzhou, China.” El-Sayed Lashin
Simply table tennis is in his blood.
“Table tennis makes my life better and more organised. I am yet to decide whether I am going into coaching but for now I still love to play. I am still playing because I have not retired from table tennis. It is only at national team level that I retire. I will do my best to continue at club level as I love to be a player.” El-Sayed Lashin
Now very much El-Sayed Lashin hands over the baton of responsibility to Omar Assar, a young man with a very similar character to his elder colleague. Both ooze enthusiasm for the sport of table tennis.
“Thank you captain; thank you for your long journey with the team, filled with tournaments and achievements. I am sure you are proud of all that you have achieved thanks to our Lord and your diligence. You were the first Egyptian and Arab player to enter the top 100 list on the world ranking; that was a great inspiration for players. I am sure that the main motive for retirement is to give opportunities for younger players. It’s a very brave step that only real men take.” Omar Assar.
Undoubtedly Omar Assar has the greatest of respect for El-Sayed Lashin, very much a role model.
“My message to the Egyptian Table Tennis Federation is that it is important to honour El-Sayed Lashin for all that he has given to Egypt in the last 20 years; his wealth of experience will be useful to teach Egyptian players how to turn table tennis from hobby to being professional. I wish to thank you; my respect increases day by day I wish you all the best. I am sure you will be a successful coach as you set a very good example.” Omar Assar
I wonder how soon before we see El-Sayed Lashin sitting courtside as one of the national team coaches? He has the qualities; he is knowledgeable and a motivator.