by Olalekan Okusan ITTF-Africa Press Officer
At 40 years of age, Ahmed Ali Saleh may not possess the speed and agility that present-day table tennis demands but what the Egyptian has in abundance is his tactical discipline.
Also, he may not have won any major titles in recent times but he has a way of making it to the podium in most of the continental tournaments. It makes him stand out from the crowd; his efforts greatly appreciated by Magdy Ashour, the Egyptian National Coach.
“Saleh is special because he plays with his head. Even when he does not train that much, he still has something special to offer. At 40 years old, he is still among the top five players in Egypt and he has maintained that for years; his presence in the national team cannot be underestimated.
He does not do much physical exercise as he only warms up during major tournaments. Everything he does on the table comes from his head. Age might not be in his favour now but I can say that he has what every coach desires in a player.” Magdy Ashour
The point that intelligence, clear thinking is needed to succeed at international level is endorsed by Ahmed Ali Saleh.
“Most times I rely on my inner strength to win matches; this has continued to help me to keep going in the game. I know that meeting up with the likes of Quadri Aruna and Omar Assar has been challenging because they are still young, unlike me.
What my physical attributes cannot do, I make use of my head. I have given myself two years to continue to play but I will stop finally when my body cannot do the mind game for me anymore. I enjoy table tennis and I still want to continue.”
In addition to his now four wins at Africa Cup tournaments, he has won the men’s singles title at the African Championships on three occasions