by Olalekan Okusan, ITTF-Africa Press Officer
Madani Zerigui, 37 years old, lives in Algiers; Karim Boumedouha resides in France. They are both members of the eight man Algerian team competing in Alexandria.
Notably, Madani Zerigui is a former Algerian national junior champion but an accident in 2003 changed his life.
Unlike Madani Zerigui, 42 years old France based Karim Boumedouha has lived all his life in Europe, having been born to a French mother and Algerian father. As a player he started representing his adopted country, France, in 2006 and he was part of the 2011 men’s class 10 team that won the Para European Championships in Switzerland. He has featured in three Para European Championships and two Para World Championships for France but has not yet competed in a Paralympic Games.
Now Karim Boumedouha has decided to represent the country of his father’s birth, in Alexandria he is competing for Algeria. A well-known face in para table tennis, Karim Boumedouha is ready to partner with the likes of Madani Zerigui to change the fortune of the para table tennis in Algeria.
“This is the first time that Algeria is competing in any Para African Championships; this is the beginning of good things to come. Unfortunately I narrowly missed out from making it to Tokyo 2020 after losing to South Africa’s Theo Cogill in the semi-final of the men’s class 10. I am not giving up yet as I am hoping to make it to Paris 2024 in France. I am ready to help my country to raise the profile of the sport. I am also impressed with the quality of African players, especially Nigeria because they have good players,” Karim Boumedouha
Karim Boumedouha, who plies his trade with the French fourth division Club Saint Pierre Les Elbert in the Normandy region, north west France, believes Algeria can compete favourably with Egypt and Nigeria in future events.
Like Karim Boumedouha, Madani Zerigui, who represents the Athletic Club of Boudouadu, he is excited that they are competing at the continental tournament for the first time.
“I had an accident in 2003; then I was the national junior champion in Algeria, I cannot stop playing the game and now I train with able bodied players, while as an ITTF Level 1 certified coach, I train young players who are now playing for the Algeria national team. I am hopeful that with Karim Boumedouha and others we can give the sport a new face in Algeria.” Madani Zerigui
Play in Alexandria concludes on Tuesday 2nd July.
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