11 Dec 2018

Present earlier in the year at the 2018 ITTF Challenge Series Nigeria Open, determined to improve India’s Mudit Dani had decided to move to Germany to hone his skills.

Currently resident in the United States where he attends university in New York, the 19 year old will continue his education but on-line.

by Olalekan Okusan, ITTF Africa Press Officer

A determined young man, Mudit Dani explained his desire to improve.

“I have been playing table tennis for over 12 years now. I started playing casually with my cousins and grandmother and took it up seriously over time.

My grandmother’s friend, Mr Ratish Chachad, was my first coach. I was lucky to learn from an ex-Indian national team player and coach. His knowledge and passion for the game helped me understand and love the game, especially the high speed and various types of spins and tactics that can be used. I find this extremely thrilling as compared to competing in a sport like running or swimming where the action is very repetitive.

Playing in the European League system has always been a dream for me. Besides the matches, the training was something I really looked forward to experiencing. Due to school and other pressures back home, I could only train twice a day in the holidays. I found this rather upsetting as I felt like I wasn’t giving it my best. I’m quite happy with where I have come thus far but I know that moving to Germany will prove to be a catalyst to push my game to reach the next level.

My experience at the Nigeria Open was great! The crowds, playing conditions and hospitality were all perfect. Being my first ever senior World Tour event made it even more special. If I had to put it briefly, I hope to be back next year because it was one of the most memorable weeks of my life.

The crowds at the Nigeria Open were the biggest highlight and difference. Everyone was super energetic. Not only did they support Nigerian players but it seemed like they came to support the game. It was a truly special feeling to play in the hall at Lagos.

My parents have always been very supportive of me in everything I do or want to do, be it sports or education. They have always allowed me to be independent and take responsibility for my actions. I feel like they can see my passion and commitment towards the game and so they always help me in whatever way they can to help me achieve my goals, the first of which is giving me their faith and belief that they will be on my side through all the ups and downs.

Table tennis has given me discipline and purpose, dictating the path of my life discipline. Almost all the decisions me and my family have taken in the past 12 years were taken keeping my game in mind, be it planning a family vacation or daily meals at home. The game has also made me realise the importance of working hard, planning well, including always having a “Pan B” and time management skills.

Like almost everyone, I too started as a hobby player. 12 years ago when I first held a racket, I could have never imagined reaching this level. Playing professionally in Germany now in my first year in the seniors has been a dream come true itself. The next step for me is to break into the top 200 of the world, I moved from 886 to 430 this year and now aim at breaking into the Indian Men’s Team for prestigious events like the Olympic Games, Commonwealth Games, Asian Games and World Championships.

I think the whole restructuring of the World Tour and ranking system has already helped in increasing participation. ITTF is already doing a great amount to improve the fortunes of table tennis with the help of new sponsorship deals and marketing activation. I feel like they need to continue engaging in such activities and it will just be a matter of time in which table tennis will be as lucrative as any other sport.”

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