Algerian teenager, Hiba Feredj eager to shine

Hiba Feredj

When sixteen year-old Hiba Feredj decided to heed the clarion call to wear the colours of her native country – Algeria in 2015, she never envisaged that she would be competing at top level within a year but today she is an integral member of the Algerian team to the 2016 ITTF African Senior Championships holding in Agadir, Morocco from October 24 to 30.

Having left Algiers to London at six, she started honing her skills when she started playing at the London Academy in Edgware in North London that at 12, she soon became the leading girl in the Under 13 age category.

She made her debut for Algeria in 2015 at the ITTF Junior Circuit in Mauritius and was also part of the team that prevented Egypt’s clean sweep of medals at the African Junior Championships in 2015.

The teenager who acknowledged the enormous support she has been getting from her grandfather – Sarri Ramdane will be competing in Morocco and she is looking forward to an exciting time in Morocco.

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“This is my first time of playing in this kind of competition and it will be good to compete at senior level. I am not giving up on Algeria making it to the podium because I know Nigeria and Egypt are the favourites in Morocco,” she said.

Specifically, she believes they can make do with bronze but not giving up on silver medal in the women team event. “I hope we can win bronze but silver would be better because there are stronger teams in the tournament,” she added.

For Hiba Feredj, she is hoping to qualify from the group stage in the singles, while predicting a podium for the female team. “I maybe cause one surprise but I do not know as I have never played this competition before but it would be nice to get somewhere but mainly to get a medal in the team event and qualify from the group stage in the singles.”

“In the team event, I think we can make it to the semifinals for sure maybe even final. But we just need to keep our heads straight and believe and I’m sure we can do it because anything is possible,” an optimist Algerian star said.

Feredj cannot but remember the performance of Aruna Quadri at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games, when she said: “I think the performance of Aruna Quadri will help table tennis in Africa because with his achievement at the Olympics and other international competitions, the world now knows that Africa can have great players.”

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She admitted that the supremacy of Egypt and Nigeria in the sport. “First of all, they are traditional powerhouses and good organisation of their federations gives them the opportunity to grow and achieve better results at major competitions.