Hana Goda was touted as the next big thing in African table tennis, but no one expected her to rise so fast.
The 13-year-old has become the youngest player to feature in a final at the ITTF African championships, as she lost 2-3 to compatriot Maram Alhodaby in a hard-fought match in Yaoundé, Cameroon on Tuesday (7 September).
Despite making her debut in the competition, Goda had upset some of the continent's best and experienced players: on her way to the final she defeated Olufunke ‘Funke’ Oshonaike, the first African woman to secure a seventh appearance in an Olympic Games, and in the semi-finals she beat defending champion and three-time Olympian Dina Meshref.
Goda was also outstanding in the team final which Egypt won 3-0, beating the skilled 34-year-old Nigerian Offiong Edem (11-8, 13-15, 11-5, 11-6).
In an interview with the Olympic Channel in 2020, the wonderkind shared how she began playing table tennis on tables that were cut to accommodate her height when she was only four.
“I remember everyone was watching me when I was playing because I was shorter than the table or just about the same height. People were like, ‘What is she doing?’ How can she play when she is the same height as the table?’ But for me I was happy because everyone was watching,” she said.
She dreams of the “Olympics every day” and hopes she “can get the first Olympic medal [for Egypt] in table tennis”.