His calmness coupled with his lightening quick reflexes most times confused opponents and his quality distinguished 13-year-old Mohamed Azzam of Egypt at the ITTF African Junior and Cadet Championship in Tunis.
His quality reminds one of the qualities that Omar Assar possessed as a junior player but the unique calmness of Mohamed Azzam portends a great future for the bespectacled teenager sensation.
Individually, he has remained unbeaten in the team event while he is a potential title contender in the cadet singles of the championship.
However, the student of Cairo-based Egypt Dream Language School says he hopes to threat the path of his role – Omar Assar, whom he described as a great inspiration to Egyptians.
“I started playing table tennis as six with my sister who was also a player. Initially when I started table tennis, it was fun and very easy after recently I realised that it is a difficult game that you must always be at your best. But I am not going to be discouraged and continue to work hard to fulfill my dream of becoming the best player in Africa in few years to come,” Mohamed Azzam said.
The Egyptian cadet national champion described the huge support he has been getting from his parents as a motivation for his to excel in the sport.
“My parent never discouraged me from following my dream in table tennis, they support me a lot by driving me to training and providing all what I need for me. Apart from this, they never stop telling me to continue to work hard,” said the Zamalek of Egypt star.
The youngster however, admitted that marrying sport with academics has not been an easy task.
“I will not tell me that it has been easy managing table tennis and studies. It is very difficult but I ensure I manage it very well,” he said.
For Mohamed Azzam, to remain champion in Egypt is not as easy as winning it.
“To remain a champion in Egypt is not that easy because you have to always work hard and ensure you maintain your form. You have to also train physically to be the best.”
As long as Mohamed Azzam admires his compatriot – Omar Assar, he cannot ignore his soft-spot for the quality of China’s Ma Long. “I love Omar Assar because he is a great champion in Egypt and Africa. But Ma Long is a player I love a lot because he is such a fantastic player respected across the world,” the teenager said.
Culled from ITTF