Table tennis starlet ready to take on the world

Musfiquh Kalam, 14, has climbed her way up the ranks which now sees her among the top under-15 girl players in the country.

In a short space of time, Trafalgar High School’s Musfiquh Kalam, 14, has climbed her way up the ranks which now sees her among the top under-15 girl players in the country.

Her fine form saw the Boundry Table Tennis Club player qualify for the SA squad that will take part in the world junior championships, at GrandWest, in November.

Musfiquh qualified for the international showpiece after making the semi-finals of the girls’ under-18 division at the South African championships, in Pietermaritzburg, earlier this year.

However, there will still be a final round of trials to determine the final six competitors.

At SA champs, she won four gold medals and one bronze.

This included the girls’ under-15 singles, doubles, mixed-doubles, and team event as well as the girls’ under-18 singles.

“This year was tough because everyone wanted to do well at nationals.

“As an under-15 player I did well in the under-18 category making it all the way to the semi-finals.

“A stand out for me was when I knocked out seeded under-18 players,” Musfiquh said.

This has been a breathtaking year for Musfiquh who came 12th in the girls’ under-15 singles event, at the Africa junior championships, in Algeria.

The triple SA singles champion qualified for the competition after winning the singles title in 2015.

Musfiquh said the experience was great because it was her first time representing South Africa.

“It was great to play in a different environment and of course to play on another level.

“The competition was tough so you have to bring your top game,” she said.

The youngster credits her coach Graham van As for bringing out the best in her.

“He is not only a good coach but a great motivator. He pushed me to be the player who I am today,” she said.

Her message to up-and-coming players is to be pro-active and to participate in sport.

“It can bring out the best in an individual no matter what background or place you come from,” she said.

Musfiquh was inspired by her brothers, Rafheeq and Tasreeq, who were the first to play the sport in her family.

“I went with my brothers to practise at Central Park Primary School and saw how interesting table tennis was and decided to join Boundry in 2012,” she said.

Coach Van As said he is proud of the way Musfiquh has developed over the past few years.

“When Musfiquh first came to the club, I could see she was willing to learn and give her best.

“She worked hard and through her commitment and dedication she excelled into a true champion, winning three consecutive single titles at nationals,” he said.

Van As said if Musfiquh continues her good run of form then her dreams can be reached sooner than expected.

“As a coach I want her to be number one in Africa and to be in the top 20 in the world.

“If she keeps up the hard work at training soon that goal can be reached,” he said.