10-year-old Alisa Fayaz Bhojani of DSM, shocked the international table tennis world after making it to the FINAL round of the Under-16 African Hopes Championships held in Nairobi recently. Alisa ousted many big names in the tournament who were much older than her, to make it to the final which also served as the qualifying tournament for the World Under-16 Table Tennis Championships. Alisa claimed the Runner-up title after losing by a narrow margin to the Kenyan Under-16 top seed, Ivy Makhoka, in a thrilling final.
Alisa, who was representing Tanzania at the Championships, was accompanied by the Tanzania National Table Tennis Coach Issa Mtalaso who after the tournament commented, “No one expected a young girl of 10 years from Tanzania to play and win against experienced Under-16 players. She has shown remarkable achievement at a very young age.”
Alisa made it to the finals without losing a single game only to lose with a margin of two points, after a ten-ten tie in the final set of the nerve wrecking final! She took an early lead but lost by a very narrow margin, which was unimaginable to her opponent Ivy who is two years older. “I never imagined that such a young girl from Tanzania would give me such a hard time in the final. I hope to see Alisa continue training aggressively and I believe she will one day bring honor to her country,” said Ivy.
After her spectacular debut in Kenya, Alisa has been ranked SECOND on the African continent. The Kenyan Table Tennis Association President remarked, “Alisa lost a deserving match and is a player the world should watch. I have seen great talent in Alisa and if she continues at this pace, I see a future World Champion coming from Tanzania!”
The 10-year-old who studies at IST, was interviewed by Super Sports Channel of South Africa after her amazing performance and mentioned during the interview that “she was very happy to get so far in her first International tournament. She promised to train harder, to be the continents top seed and also to become a top player for the Tanzania National team in the near future.”
The International Table Tennis Federation coach, Ahmed Dawlatly from Cairo, Egypt, said, “Alisa is a very good player and plays an attacking game, which makes it a pleasure to watch her. Great talent from Tanzania and we hope she continues to fly even higher.”
Alisa is a regular participant at the Ismaili Youth and Sports Committee’s Triangular Sports training and participates in all Jamati tournaments including the Ramadhan tournament. In 2015, she participated at the Unity Games in Mwanza, where she was the winner. She has also won the Inter-Community AK Cup Youth Table Tennis Championship in DSM.
The IYSC is very proud of her and wishes Alisa all the best for her future tournaments.