GHS ta­ble ten­nis star Kiara Naidoo num­ber 2 in Africa


A PI­ETER­MAR­ITZBURG teenager Kiara Naidoo has been ranked sec­ond in Africa in the un­der 15 di­vi­sion in ta­ble ten­nis.

The Pi­eter­mar­itzburg Girls’ High pupil, who is an all­round of­fen­sive player, first made head­lines when she was se­lected to rep­re­sent the con­ti­nen­tal team at the World Ta­ble Ten­nis Cadet Chal­lenge in Fiji last Oc­to­ber. Kiara had made her in­ter­na­tional de­but at the In­ter­na­tional Ta­ble Ten­nis Fed­er­a­tion (ITTF) African Ju­nior and Cadet Cham­pi­onships in Tu­nisia, where she was fea­tured in a team of 12 play­ers rep­re­sent­ing the coun­try.

In that tour­na­ment, the 15­yearold, who is part of the Mar­itzburg Ta­ble Ten­nis club, fin­ished eighth in the cadet sin­gles, a po­si­tion that se­cured her a spot in the con­ti­nen­tal team.

Speak­ing to The Wit­ness yes­ter­day, the tal­ented teen said she was very ex­cited that she had been ranked sec­ond in the con­ti­nent.

“I was shocked when I heard my rank­ing and I was ex­tremely happy. I couldn’t be­lieve it,” she said.

At the be­gin­ning of Fe­bru­ary, Kiara par­tic­i­pated in a na­tional tour­na­ment in Gaut­eng where she was ranked first in the un­der 15 di­vi­sion, sec­ond in un­der 18 and third for the wom­ en’s di­vi­sion. Kiara said when she be­gan her ta­ble ten­nis ca­reer she had al­ways set her eyes on be­com­ing part of the con­ti­nen­tal team.

“I have al­ways hoped that I would make the African team. It was my goal. I didn’t think it would come true be­cause it was my first time play­ing in­ter­na­tion­ally and the com­pe­ti­tion was very tough as well,” she said.

She scored her in­ter­na­tional de­but af­ter win­ning a tough match against an op­po­nent from Mau­ri­tius.

Kiara who has been play­ing ta­ble ten­nis since pri­mary school, said she was in­tro­duced to the sport by her fam­ily mem­bers and her cu­rios­ity for the game was piqued.

“I didn’t want to play at first but once I started I de­vel­oped a pas­sion for it. It is an hon­our for me to rep­re­sent my coun­try and I hope I keep the mo­men­tum.”

The ris­ing ta­ble ten­nis star said she ded­i­cates at least 20 hours of train­ing six days a week.

“I’m also part of the ath­letes devel­op­ment pro­gramme. The pro­gramme fo­cuses on fit­ness three times a week and it helps to track our im­prove­ment.”

At the mo­ment, Kiara said she is pre­par­ing for the South African tri­als again. • nokuthula.khanyile@me­


Kiara Naidoo, who just hoped to make the African team, in­stead emerged the sec­ond best U15 ta­ble ten­nis player in Africa.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from South Africa

© PressReader. All rights reserved.