by Olalekan Okusan, ITTF-Africa Press Officer
However, for Hana Goda, it is only the initial step in her quest to become the first African, the first Egyptian to win a medal in the table tennis events at an Olympic Games.
“A first step towards my dream of an Olympic medal for Egypt.” Hana Goda
Top spot attained, since that date, she emerged successful at the Egyptian National Championships; notably in the women’s singles final beating 27 year old national team player Farah Abdel Aziz, ranked among the top five senior players in Africa.
Series of success
The numerous feats achieved by Hana Goda include success at international tournaments in 2018 in Tunisia and in 2019 at the African Under 21 and Junior Championships in Ghana. Additionally, she secured a host of titles at the end of the year on the ITTF World Junior Circuit in Portugal. She was also part of the 2018 ITTF Hopes Team and won the 2019 ITTF World Hopes Week & Challenge Girls’ title.
Widely travelled, the medal haul started in earnest when she was the runner up in 2017 in the cadet girls’ singles event at the Swedish Junior and Cadet Open; now in she has been selected as a member of the national squad for the forthcoming Hana Bank 2020 World Team Championships in Busan.
Senior team selection
A busy schedule, some ten local and national tournaments form her itinerary.
“I’m very happy that I will be part of the Egyptian senior team to Korea. It wasn’t really a surprise as there was a qualification tournament and I came first in the competition. I feel very excited and I’m looking forward for the challenge in Korea. I’m very honoured to be in the team alongside Dina Meshref and I will do my best to help team Egypt to do well.
It means a lot to me to be one of the youngest players at the World Team Table Tennis Championships. I believe this kind of experience will help achieve my dream of making it to the 2024 Olympic Games in Paris, France.
My target in 2020 is to keep being number one in cadet and to have better seeding in junior. I am also hoping that I can emerge as champion at the World Cadet Challenge this year.” Hana Goda
As a With The Future in Mind scholarship holder, Hana’s progress is supported through the Olympic Solidarity program in cooperation with ITTF High Performance & Development.
A pupil at an Egyptian Language School in Cairo, Hana Goda is dedicated to table tennis but is well aware of the value of education.
“Education is also very important to me because when I travel anywhere I take my books with me in order to study.” Hana Goda
Accompanied by mother
On most occasions accompanied by her mother, Radwa Azab, she is hopeful she can exceed the record of her role model, Dina Meshref.
“When she was four years old, we were looking for sports she could take to and we decided to try swimming, gymnastics and handball but we found out that she did not like any of them. We took her to the Ahly Club in Cairo, she started playing table tennis on March 1st 2012; the club noticed that she was very intelligent on the table, so they made a special table for her to train because of her height. Since taking to table tennis, we noticed that she has become more sociable and very active even in her academics.
I cannot fathom how the gift of the sport came to my daughter but what I know is that it is from God. Apart from her excellent performance in table tennis, she is very dedicated in her studies. Most times when she misses a school assignment, she makes up for it after returning from her trips. Playing alone has really helped her confidence and for us this has made her independent in whatever she wants to do.” Radwa Azab
Hana Goda dreams and sleeps the sport table tennis.
“I want to be an Olympian and be on top of the sport. Dina Meshref and Omar Assar have been my role models because they work hard and have confidence in themselves. They are also friendly people I love to emulate.” Hana Goda
Testimonies across Africa
Notably, the top stars across the continent acknowledge the quality of Hana Goda.
“Though I have never seen her play, her results speak for themselves. I believe she has a very good mentor in Dina Meshref but also with all the Egyptian team. I hope she will keep the love of the game and go as far as she can in table tennis. Our limits are the ones we place on ourselves. I wish her to be the first African to be ranked number one in the world, knowing that the path is winding. But nothing is impossible.” Sarah Hanffou (Cameroon)
“She started playing the game at a very young age and she has been given the right fundamentals skills to compete. She competes on the cadet circuit. She has family and country backing. She is surrounded by good players, Ahmed Saleh, Omar Assar, Yousra Helmy and Dina Meshref. She loves the game and has the desire and passion to win and the training régime of Egypt is good for her. I believe a player needs all these factors to be able to compete at the world level. Considering her age and the number of good players and the foundation laid by Egypt in table tennis, the sky is the limit for Hana Goda.” Kinful Stephen Lord (Ghanaian table tennis analyst)
“She is a very talented player and she has already proven herself with her exceptional results both in Egypt or internationally. She started from a very young age with extreme dedication and I’m sure that this will pay off in her future and I’m sure that she will have a bright future ahead of her.” Yousra Helmy (Egypt)
“There is no doubt, Hana Goda is a brilliant player, great player to rule the game in Africa and world soon; she has proved herself on several occasions that she is going to be a great player.” Quadri Aruna (Nigeria)
“Hana Goda has great potential to achieve great results and break records in my opinion. Her great passion for the game, her talent, perseverance, and her achieved results at under 15 level all imply that she could be able to do great in the future.” Dina Meshref (Egypt)
“She is a player with strong determination to achieve her goals and she is well supported by her family, even in this difficult period she never stops to be active, I believe that she will have a bright future in Africa and in the world and she will be one of the best players.” Lotfi Guerfel (President of Tunisia Table Tennis Federation)
“Hana Goda in my opinion is the future of Egypt and Africa and from now she will start to compete as teammates of the likes of Dina Meshref, Yousra Helmy and Farah Abdel-Aziz representing Egypt national team at the next World Championship. I think her participation in such event plus her practice plan will help her to improve her level for more good results and save the amazing world ranking for long period. “ Ahmed Ali Saleh (Egypt)
“Hana Goda is a very talented player with attacking spirit on the table since she started to play in official events five years ago. She is so fast and accurate with remarkable footwork, thus she has achieved the miracle of being the first African to be number one on an ITTF world ranking list in her age category. We must take into consideration that she still has three years to compete at that level. If she continues with the same passion and hard work, I am expecting her to win a medal in the next Youth Olympic Games to be held in 2022 in Africa.” Khaled El-Salhy, ATTF President