by Olalekan Okusan, ITTF-Africa Press Officer
Presently listed at no.33 on the women’s world rankings, Dina Meshref currently plays alongside Petrissa Solja, Alena Lemmer and Monca Pietkiewicz for TSV 1909 Langstadt in the German Bundesliga.
It is a move which she believes is not only beneficial to her efforts in Chengdu but also looking ahead next year to the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.
Dina Meshref explained:
“The World Cup is one of the toughest competitions on the ITTF calendar. All the players competing are of a very high level and no match is easy; they are the best players in the world. I am aware that it is always very tough.
The tournament is unique because the players are very few, only 20 players play the competition. The top 16 are the best in the world while the remaining four are continental champions. All the matches are very difficult and this is what makes World Cup different. For example at the World Championships or Olympic Games, you can play some average matches from the start or either you have a bye but at the World Cup that is a different story, every match is very tough.
In the ITTF Women’s World Cup this year, first of all I hope I can reach the main draw, qualify from my group and hopefully if I can get a good draw, I hope I can reach the quarter-finals by winning the first match in the round of 16. So I think if I achieve that I will be satisfied.
In Germany the league is very strong, all the matches are very tough as you play against high level players. So far, I had played one match, I believe it will help me know more about my weaknesses and what I need to improve. I think this will overall help me improve my level, just being under pressure against high level players will also help. Generally I believe that my move to Germany will be very beneficial.
Actually I was looking for a strong league this season because I wanted to make a change before the Olympic Games to improve my level. I was looking for a strong league not necessarily in Germany or France; any strong league for women. I know that I cannot play with the Al-Alhy Club in Egypt if I play in Germany or France, so that was a problem. I decided to further improve my level to help me be a better player. It will be of benefit to me, improve my level and at the same time benefit my club in Egypt when I return.”
In 2015 in Sendai, in the tournament that dates back to 1996 when staged in Hong Kong, Dina Meshref became the first player from Africa to progress through the first stage of proceedings; she repeated the feat in the following year n Philadelphia and in 2017 in Markham.