Lesotho Table Tennis Open tournament recent winner, Muhammad Talal Hussain, has opted to play for Lesotho for a chance to play in international competitions.
Born from naturalized Lesotho citizen parents, Hussain is currently studying in South Africa, where he has established himself as a rising table tennis star.
He recently told Newsday Sport that his decision to pledge his allegiance to Lesotho was influenced by his desire to play in international competitions; something he failed to achieve while playing for South African national junior teams.
Hussain has already amassed a lot medals in his early career, with his latest victory coming last weekend where he won the Lesotho Table Tennis Open tournament in Maseru.
Born in Lesotho on January 22, 2004, Hussain started playing table tennis at the age of 13 in 2017.
He promptly won a gold medal at the 2017 Free State Open in the under-13 boys singles category, and a silver medal in the under-15 boys singles category.
â€œI chose to play for Lesotho after playing table tennis for Free State in Bloemfontein for about six years,â€ Hussain said this week.
â€œAfter being ranked in the top three in South Africa for the past 4 – 5 years, and not being able to play internationally, my coach and I decided that it is time to represent Lesotho at the highest level that I possibly can.â€
Hussain said he has been part of the Free State provincial team for under-13s, and represented Free State at the South African national championships in 2017.
He further made Free State provincial team for under 15 and represented Free State at the South African National Championships in 2018.
Hussain has participated in the 2018 Pedro Meyer classic games in Cape Town, where he won a bronze medal for under-15 boys singles and bronze medal for junior team events.
He also holds a 2018 South African National School games bronze medal for under- 15 boys singles, made the 2019 South African national team for under-15 boys; a gold medal in the 2019 Arnold Classics Gold for under 15 boys singles; and bronze medal for under-18 boys singles.
He currently ranks second for under 15 boys in South Africa from 2018-2020, seventh for under 18 boys in South Africa from 2018-2020, the current South African ranking third for under 19 boys and top 30 in South Africa senior men’s ranking