When 16-year-old Lekeasha Johnson narrowly missed a spot in the African Cadet team for the 2015 ITTF World Cadet Challenge in Egypt, she was never bothered as she continued to work hard.

However her tenacity and commitment to the sport paid off for her when she was selected alongside the senior team of South Africa to the 2016 World Team Championship in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. She was an integral part of the team even as the youngest member of the women team. Despite not playing many matches during the championship, she was excited about her prospect of rubbing shoulders with the senior players.

But when the 2016 World Junior Championships serves off on November 30 in Cape Town, all eyes will be on Lekeasha Johnson who recently featured for South Africa at the last ITTF Africa Senior Championships in Agadir, Morocco.

“I am so excited for the upcoming World Junior Championship that is taking place in my country and I cannot wait to represent my country and flying the South African flag high. I am so prepared that I train six days a week just to prepare for the championship. I am so honoured to play for my country because that is what I always wanted to do.”

“It is a privilege to put on the national colours of my country and if it is something I always wanted to do is to where my national colours,” she added.

With her family hoping to cheer her during the tournament, Lekeasha Johnson said: “My family is so proud of me and they can’t wait for me to be in action and my friends are excited to watch their friend play against many different continents. I must also admit that this championship would be tough for us to medal but I have so much faith and believe in my team and our country that I think we could actually obtain results.”

On the gains of the competition, she said: “I think it’s unique because different continents come together to compete in a wonderful exciting sport and we learn about the various languages and are able to gain experience and make new friends.”

Like a patriot who wants to make her country proud, Lekeasha Johnson said: “My aim is to give it my best and at least making it to the top 20 in singles.”

She however said her national team experience would surely come to fore, “I think so as I am gaining a lot of knowledge and experiencing it at first hand I do think my national team experience will help with the upcoming championship. My expectations are that my team will play just as hard as I am willing to play and give it their all and after that I will just be hoping for the best.”