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International Competition Motivates South African Girls to Achieve Great Heights

By By: Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Editor

Posted on 21 April 2011



A bronze medal was to be the end result for South Africa in the Junior Girls' Singles event at the ITTF-African Junior and Cadet Championships in Cape Town on Thursday 7th April 2011.

2011 ITTF-African Junior Championships

The medal was a welcome reward for the efforts of Khanyisile Madlala, Vivian Jackson, Sisipho Bathini Shumikazi Mvunyiswa and Letshego Seleke Jane Manaso.

However, more important is the effect of having competed, the motivation to try to reach the levels of the players against whom they suffered defeat, the desire to return stronger.
All four would seem to have that desire.

Brothers’ Influence
Khanyisile Madlala is 18 years old and hails from Springs where her brothers convinced her that table tennis was the game to play.

"She enjoyed the sport so much and developed a defensive style of play", explained Lany Geldenhuys, a member of the Organising Committee of the South African Table Tennis Board. "When she joined the High Performance Centre in Pretoria, her coaches changed her style of play to being a very attacking player."

Spearhead
The young lady listened to the coaches and is very much the spearhead of the team.

"Khanyisile sees herself as a role model for her team and her community and displays great leadership on the court as well", continued Lany Geldenhuys. "She feels being a role model keeps her on her toes and is always aware that she needs to be displaying a positive attitude as difficult as it seems at times."

Vivian Jackson in a thoughtful and determined mood Photo By: Lany Geldenhuys

Spearhead
The young lady listened to the coaches and is very much the spearhead of the team.

"Khanyisile sees herself as a role model for her team and her community and displays great leadership on the court as well", continued Lany Geldenhuys. "She feels being a role model keeps her on her toes and is always aware that she needs to be displaying a positive attitude as difficult as it seems at times."

National Success
Furthermore, she has enjoyed success nationally.

"She’s also the South Africa Junior and Senior Women’s Singles champion", added Lany Geldenhuys. "Khanyisile believes that through her hard work and training for six hours a day, she believes this has led to her making the team for the All Africa Games in September; she feels she’s ready and wants to bring home at least three medals."

Full of pride; Khanyisile Madlala (front left) stands with colleagues for the National Anthem

Equally Positive
Ambitious and why not? Such a positive approach is good to hear.

Equally, Vivian Jackson; 16 years old from Valhalla Park in Cape Town is motivated to move forward.

Fast Learner
"Vivian started playing at school in 2008 , by September of that same year she made the quarter finals of the South African Championships; she found herself being a natural at the game and decided to work much harder", explained Lany Geldenhuys. “She found that the ITTF Junior Circuit event was very tough but believes that in the ITTF-African Junior and Cadet Championships in which she’s playing now is even tougher!"

Has she got that the right way round? Whatever, they are both tough tournaments for the improving teenager.

Playing Strength
"Her strength lies in the counter attack as it gives her confidence", continued Lany Geldenhuys. "Her role model is Nadeen El-Dawlatly who plays for Egypt; she sees Nadeen as a very disciplined and hard working player with a great style of play as well."

Nadeen El-Dawlatly and all other members of the Egyptian team in Cape Town set a fine example; in 2010 Nadeen El-Dawlatly received the Stag Most Improved Girl Player of the Year Award.

Maybe in 2011, Vivian Jackson is a contender.

Pleasant Surprise
"Vivian was shocked to hear that she’s made the team for the All Africa Games" continued Lany Geldenhuys. "She believes she deserves it and will do her very best!"

Congratulations, hard work brings its rewards as it may well do for 17 year old Sisipho Bathini Shumikazi Mvunyiswa from Umtata in the Eastern Cape.

Enjoys Individual Sport
"She started playing when a teacher came to school and told her about this new sport she could play", said Lany Geldenhuys. “She gave it her best attempt and started enjoying it; she finds it to be a great individual sport because only she can determine the outcome."

That’s true; you are alone. The table tennis arena needs to be your home, somewhere you feel comfortable; increasingly that is the case for Lany Geldenhuys

Encourages Partner
"When she plays doubles she encourages her partner that they need to be all they can be and up their game to achieve a great result", explained Lany Geldenhuys. "Sisipho is a very positive person; her message to all he world is that success is for everybody, it doesn’t matter where you come from; if you put in the extra effort you are going to achieve your goals."

The approach is to be applauded, a splendid attitude; she is clearly a leader.

Parental Support
"She believes her confidence and positive attitude is most important as it makes her believe in herself and is able to face any challengers that come her way", continued Lany Geldenhuys. "Her mom is her greatest supporter!"

Support from home; it is irreplaceable.

Focus on Table Tennis
"Sisipho decided to take up the offer to further her sporting ability at the High Performance centre over her studies at University; her mother allowed her to make the choice she felt she needed to do at the time", added Lany Geldenhuys. "She’s the only one from the Eastern Cape who has qualified for the All Africa Games; it’s a great achievement and a confidence booster for her."

Nervous but Acclimatising
Completing the line up is 17 year old, Letshego Seleke Jane Manaso; she is 17 years old from the Free State in Bloemfontein.

"The 2011 ITTF Junior Circuit tournament and ITTF-African Junior and Cadet Championships are good for her; it is the second time she has played at this level", explained Lany Geldenhuys. "She felt she was very nervous and lost concentration and confidence because of the people around her but still accomplished great results by making the team."

Importantly, she is a member of the team.

Family Pride
"Her family’s very proud of her and excited and believes she will do very well at the All Africa Games; she’s extremely confident with the forehand but has to work very hard to compensate for her height as she’s not tall", concluded Lany Geldenhuys. "She prefers driving the ball over the net rather than playing with heavy to spin."

A Beneficiary
Again, as with her three colleagues she is learning, she is motivated and from the experience of competing in the South African Junior and Cadet Championships and in the ITTF-African Junior and Cadet Championships, she is benefitting and benefitting greatly.



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