Despite not going beyond the main draw at the 2017 ITTF Women’s World Cup in Canada, Africa’s flagbearer – Dina Meshref (EGY) has described the tournament one of the tournaments she has enjoyed in her career.

Having lost her first group match to Austria’s Liu Jia, Dina Meshref turned things around against Germany’s Sabine Winter to pick her place in the main draw of the tournament.

As long as she enjoyed the win against the German who is ranked 52 to her 103 place in the world, Dina Meshref would forever relishes the experience of the tournament.

“To me, this year was one of the World Cups I have enjoyed the most, regardless of the results. Playing on just one table with the crowd focusing on the match being played and cheering for nice points made me really enjoy the game. Also, it was so special to me this time because I got to finally visit the country where I was born, and I was also accompanied by my mother, the fact that made me very happy that she had the chance to see me play well on the international level.

“As for my game, I was so happy to be able to perform very well, especially against the German Sabine Winter (the match that helped me moved to the main draw). It was such a nice feeling to perform very well and make it to the main draw after beating one of the top players,” she added.

Explaining what transpired in Canada, she said: Actually, I prepared so well before the World Cup, and I really wished that I could perform up to the level of preparation. In the first match, I wasn’t so satisfied because I played against a very experienced player: Liu Jia from Austria, and she made it difficult to be able to get out my game, so I was afraid of not being able to perform as I had expected before going to Canada. However, on the second match of the group stage, I finally found my game coming out very well just as it did in training before the World Cup.”

For African players, Dina Meshref believes there are still a lot of ground to cover to be at par with the Asians and Europeans. I think African players, including me, need intense practice in order to try to better compete on the global level. European and Asian players are very good, and this means we always need to find ways (training camps; more matches) in order to be up to their level.”
On the lessons she got in Canada, the African champion said: “I learned that it is very important to prepare very well before the match (in terms of warming up) because I think that before the second match against the German player, I warmed up better than I did before the first match against Liu Jia, and this helped me get out my game better. Also, after playing against China’s Liu Shiwen, I noticed that there are still too much to do in order to further improve my level. I need to work on speed, power of strokes, and footwork.

“Despite losing 4-0 against her, I was satisfied with my performance; I felt that my game was out, and that the problem was that she is better than me, which made me feel that there is still a lot to learn and improve in my game. I really enjoyed playing against one of the top Chinese players. It was so different than playing any other match in my life; it’s just a whole different level of table tennis. I was so happy to get to receive the strokes that I see her usually play and get to experience them myself.

“For female players, I believe that high-level European and Asian players are more consistent and faster than African players. Also, I guess they practice for much more hours than African players do,” she explained.