by Olalekan Okusan, ITTF-Africa Press Officer
Travelling the world, competing at the highest levels, the 26 year old graduate from the American University in Cairo has not only enhanced her table tennis skills, she has learnt valuable life lessons.
“I have learnt patience and that results and success come after long times of hard work. I have also learnt that failure teaches the greatest lessons in life and that the greatest results come after difficult situations or lessons after a failure. I also learnt that sometimes it is important to just focus on the task at hand and to prioritise things based on importance in order to get maximum results.
Table tennis is part of me; a huge part of my personality has been formed due to what I have experienced with table tennis from wins, losses, dealing with different people of different cultures and societies.” Dina Meshref
Successful at the 2019 African Games in Rabat secured Dina Meshref a place in Tokyo; as with all others it is a very special occasion.
“I guess any Games event is always unique and special as you get to be with many athletes of other sports; what makes the Olympics even more special is that it is the biggest “Games” event and the most prestigious for any athlete. People are always excited to watch athletes play at the Olympics and the athlete discovers that they have many fans and supporters following them.
There was no possibility, in my opinion, to hold the Olympics this year, as the safety of everyone should come before anything. I think of it as an opportunity to prepare better for the Olympics.” Dina Meshref
Perhaps the global lockdown has been a blessing in disguise.
“I needed that kind of break and family time to be honest. I haven’t stopped practice and physical fitness. I am happy I also have more time now to do other things I like to do but didn’t have time for before, such as playing the organ.
I learnt that it’s very important to have a good balance in life and to divide the time well between everything: sports, religion, family, as well as finding time to ask about your close friends and dear ones. I guess table tennis in the last period has taken a lot of my time, which I do not regret of course but this time has given me a chance to maybe reconsider how I would be managing my time when things get back to normal.” Dina Meshref
Ready for action
A break from competition but Dina Meshref is ready for the impending return to action.
“Of course I do miss table tennis life in general; I miss practising within a team, as well as playing tournaments and competing but I have tried to keep in shape by eating healthily and doing physical fitness.
I guess that training is not as intense as before of course, unfortunately; however, I have benefitted from trying out new things such as playing music on the organ, reading, meditating, as well as enjoying time with my family. I guess those things could also positively affect me in terms of my psychological and social well being.” Dina Meshref
A chance to put matters into perspective; Dina Meshref has advice for others.
“I just advise to choose what they have passion for and enjoy doing and when they do, they have to set realistic goals and then be ready to give out their best and work really hard for those goals. It is also very important to be patient for the results.”
It has been a time to spend more time with the family but also a time away from the family; when lockdown is over in Egypt, the first thing Meshref would love to do is to visit her grandmothers and relatives.