01 Jan 2019

Ghana will host an ITTF World Junior Circuit tournament followed by the African Youth, Junior and Cadet Championships; later in the year Lagos will stage the ITTF Challenge Plus Nigeria Open, Egypt will host both the Egypt Para Open and Africa Para Open. Likewise Morocco will be a hive of activity as they organise an ITTF Challenge tournament and ITTF World Junior Circuit event; most significantly, the country will be the home for the African Games.

Add the ITTF Africa Cup and international tournaments on foreign shores, there is a full schedule for the continent’s leading players.

by Olalekan Okusan, ITTF-Africa Press Officer

A full schedule but it is one that presents challenges and is welcomed by notable African names.

Vital to Ghana’s bronze medal success in the Men’s Team event at the 2015 African Games in Congo Brazzaville, Emmanuel Commey is aiming for repeat success.

“My target this year with Ghana is to be able to make the podium again at the 2019 African Games after our surprise win over hosts, Congo Brazzaville in 2015. I am really looking forward to join a club outside Ghana to improve my skills and get some new skills before the Olympic Games qualifiers. In Africa, I am also targeting to reach no.8 in the continent this year.” Emmanuel Commey

A positive approach from Emmanuel Commey, it is very much the same from Nigeria’s 22 year old Olajide Omotayo, a Men’s Singles semi-finalist at the 2018 African Senior Championships in Mauritius.

“In 2019, I want to double my effort and focus on the tactical aspect of my game. My first tournament will be the ITTF World Tour in Hungary followed by the Portugal Open. I need to be more focused because there are so many tournaments to be played especially the African Games and other African tournaments as well. I must also thank God for where he has brought me. I believe he is yet to do more in my life. I will remain positive as always and keep fighting to be the best that I can be.” Olajide Omotayo

Success in 2018 for Olajide Omotayo, for Egypt’s Mohamed El-Beiali, there was also success; he won the Men’s Singles title at the Arab Championships in Cairo.

“I hope I can win the league with my club, Fenerbache in Turkey and medals with the Egyptian National Team. I hope to make a meaningful impact at the World Championship in Budapest in Hungary. I am not ruling out the 2019 African Games where I am hoping for a good outing for Egypt in the tournament. Most importantly I am looking forward to make it to the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games in Japan. I am also looking forward to compete at ITTF tournaments in Oman, Qatar, Morocco and Nigeria. My aim is also to make the top 100 this year, insha allah. Also a major goal is to help my club to feature in the ETTU Champions league next season.” Mohamed El-Beiali

Eagerly awaiting the challenges that beckon, it is very much the same for a much younger player, Egypt’s 11 year old Hana Goda.

“I hope to compete in tournaments in Sweden and Bahrain in this New Year. I hope to represent Egypt at the African Cadet and Junior Championships and emerge as the Africa Cadet and Hopes champion this year. At global level, I want to be in the top four at the World Cadet Challenge. I know this will take a lot of hard work, I am ready. I hope to attend camps in Europe and China this year as well.” Hana Goda

Meanwhile, for South Africa’s 18 year old Simeen Mookrey, bronze medallist with Danisha Patel in the Women’s Doubles event at the 2018 African Senior Championships, likewise she harbours high expectations.

“In 2018 I had some good tournaments and I did not do badly at the African Junior Championship and the Senior Championship; these were good experiences for me. I played some good matches in singles and doubles which motivated me a lot and showed me that anything is possible. Unfortunately after that I had an injury and had to undergo surgery. I have not been very active since but I am now recovering and ready for 2019 and to see what it holds; being out for a time has motivated me to work even harder this year because I realised that this is really what I love and I want to be better. For 2019, now that I have completed high school I want to go to Europe and get better training because I know that it is not possible where I am currently. I have to sacrifice if I want to improve. There are some tournaments coming up this year such as the African Junior Championships. I can still compete in Under 21 events and I hope to play in the African Games and ITTF Nigerian Open. I will be working hard and trying to do better in all of them and improve my ranking even more.” Simeen Mookrey

Note the names, all are ready and certainly in ambitious mood.

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General News Olajide Omotayo Hana Goda Mohamed El-Beiali Simeen Mookrey Emmanuel Commey