by Olalekan Okusan, ITTF-Africa Press Officer
Ibrahima Diaw was only 12 years old when his father passed away; he was staying with his grandmother in Paris at that time. He has spent the better part of his life in France, being part of the country’s youth table tennis system.
Born to a Senegalese father and a Malian mother, Ibrahima Diaw was a member of the French team that won gold at the European Youth Championship in 2008; alas, he never progressed to the French men’s team.
However, when he was approached by Senegal, to represent the country of his birth, he took the chance and in Budapest, Ibrahima Diaw now 26, made his debut both for Senegal and at a World Championships.
“I was approached by the Senegal Table Tennis Association to represent my fatherland in international tournaments. I thought about and I made up my mind because this will give more opportunities to feature in several African tournaments. I now realize what I have been missing. It did not become a reality to me until I started playing my first match in Budapest, it was then I now realized that I am playing in a World Championships in the colours of Senegal.” Ibrahima Diaw.
Despite spending all his years in Paris, Ibrahima Diaw now resides in Denmark and plies his trade with Roanne, a team in the French second division.
“I made up my mind to stay in Denmark because I have good chance to train with some of the best players; my girlfriend is Danish and she is still in school. It gives us the chance to be seeing ourselves.” Ibrahima Diaw.
Notably, Ibrahima Diaw is aware of the quality of table tennis players in Africa.
“I know African has a lot of good players; this just tells me that I need to redouble my efforts if I hope to be among the best in the continent. I am hoping to compete at the African Cup in Lagos as well as the African Games in Morocco. My decision to represent Senegal is also timely in Africa, we are blessed with quality players that are world class.” Ibrahima Diaw