At 18, Byrone Abrahams had tasted what it meant to play against the best in Africa. But at junior level, he is yet to test might with the world best and for him, the forthcoming ITTF World Junior Championships would afford the young South African star to show his quality.
Byrone Abrahams, who was part of the South African team to the last ITTF Africa Senior Championships held in Agadir, Morocco is yet to come to terms with the fact that the world best will be coming to his home country to compete for honours at the World Juniors.
“It is unexplainable feeling because my dream is coming true and at this moment I still can’t believe that I am going to play in the World Junior Championships. So it is very hard to explain the emotions that I am feeling. It means a lot because I’m one of the few people in the country that gets to wear the national colours so I wear it with pride. It also means that I’m one of the best in the country and I am representing those players that were not chosen to be in the team,” Abrahams said.
Explaining his expectations for the tournament, he said: “I am looking forward with huge excitements to this competition because this is the highest level of table tennis at junior level and I have been dreaming to play against the best because there is a saying that says “to be the best you should play with the best.”
On his level of readiness, Abrahams said: “I am well prepared for the tournament as I have been training very hard and playing many local tournaments but I need to work more on my tactical side of my game.”
Explaining the feeling in his family as a member of the South African team, he said: “My family is very proud of me and my friend look at me as a hero because I’m showing them that dreams can come true. My family is proud that they can boast about me as they see me as a future star wearing the national colours.”
Abrahams is optimistic of their chances in all the events, saying, “I am sure we can win medals because table tennis is an unpredictable game as anything can happen. We will take it one match at a time and give it our best as we are used to the conditions of Cape Town so we don’t need to adapt to the altitude so it gives us the advantage.”
On the uniqueness of the championship, “It is unique because I’m getting a chance to play the best players in the world. This is my first world championships and I will get a chance to prove myself and put South Africa under the spotlight of the table tennis world,” he added.
Giving an insight into his personal target, Abrahams said: “Realistically speaking, my target for the South African team is that we make it to the top eight in the world but we are going for a medal and for the singles event, my target is top 16 in the world anything more is a bonus.”
“My experience of being a member of the senior team will help during the competition because I’m getting to play at a high level of table tennis and it will automatically increase my level and in my mind it is the best preparation for the world junior championships. It will also help with my leadership skills to lead my team to a possible medal. I want to play to the best of my ability and to improve as it would be the highest level of table tennis as it will also expose the sport more to people in my country,” Abrahams said.