Sejal Thakkar might not be among the superstars in world table tennis but at home in Kenya, she is respected for her commitment to the sport while her never-say-die attitude on table stands her out among the crowd.

Apart from being the number one female player in Kenya, she is a mother and wife, whose passion for table tennis has kept her on the top of the game amidst the array of emerging young stars from the Eastern African nation.

There was no eyebrow when she was selected as Kenya’s sole female representative in the forthcoming 2018 ITTF Africa Top 16 Cup holding from March 1 to 3 in Nairobi.

Despite quitting the sport for 13 years, Sejal Thakkar still worked her way to the top and the 42-year-old admitted that this could not have been possible without the support of family. “The love and passion for the game keeps me going. I am very hyper active generally and fitness to me is a lifestyle. I am also indebted to my parents, siblings, my husband and my two kids who have supported and motivated me in my career. Without them, this would not have been possible.”

Despite her dominance of the sport, Sejal Thakkar admitted that keeping up with the emerging stars was not without its disadvantage. “Nothing is easy in life. I struggled to get back in the game after a long break of 13 years or so but my motto has always been – NEVER TO GIVE UP – so here I am again fulfilling my dreams.”

She described her selection for the tournament as a huge task and honour. “I was ecstatic when they announced my name – and it is indeed a highly prestigious and privileged moment for me to represent my country.”

Apart from competing, Sejal Thakkar believes hosting the tournament would rub off positively on the fortune of table tennis in Kenya. “Every major international sporting event is very beneficial to the host in that we get a chance to witness world class players performing and as its said- “Learning never stops”- We all will not only participate but learn a great deal too. I am certainly quite excited to welcome all the top players of Africa and I hope to learn a lot more from these players. Some of them are good friends already and win or lose, but the participation, sportsman spirit and bonding is always something to treasure.”

Like a realist, Sejal Thakkar never nurse ambition of haltering the order amidst the array of stars. “Top 16 best players of Africa obviously are very experienced players and it will be a tough competition- but we will give it our best and see what happens. Sometimes performance also depends on the draw- So we only hope that it is a favourable one in our favour.”