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Ahead of 2018 ITTF Africa Top 16 Cup: Sarah Hanffou a lawyer with a knack for table tennis

As a graduate of the Faculty of Law of Aix-en-Provence at Aix-Marseille University located in Southern France, Sarah Hanffou holds a PhD in Public Law and she works in the public law and defense of health professionals department and her knowledge and experience in the French administration and the French army as a lawyer have allowed her to obtain a practical and comprehensive vision of public law and social security law. This aptly described the 2010 African table tennis, whose knack for table tennis is unrivalled.

Despite her tight schedule, Sarah Hanffou is still much in love with table tennis and she never hidden her soft-spot for the sport she cherishes.

“I love this game and the values it conveys. Sport is essential in my life. Moreover, I do think that it is important that the oldest players continue to play to encourage a healthy competition. I am sure young players will get their break in the coming years.

“But I have to say it is an every day struggle to combine sport and work not to say the volunteer work with my NGO Ping Sans Frontieres.  I am very lucky and grateful to Thibaud VIDAL, the founding partner of the law firm I work in, who accepted to give me day off. The law firm is very supportive and it helps a lot. Alfred Bagueka, the president of the Cameroonian Federation, who is also very understanding and I must also thank him for that,” she said.

Since her appearance at the African Cup in July 2017, Sarah Hanffou has been inactive and she is looking forward to the 2018 ITTF Africa Top 16 Cup in Kenya.

“I feel good. I can’t wait and I am very happy that the tournament is organised in Kenya.

But meanwhile, I still remember that Morocco was very specific as there were a lot of concerns from the athletes regarding the way we were treated and more widely the plan for table tennis in Africa. I am very confident that these problems have been or will be addressed by the African Table Tennis Federation.”

“Actually, I have never done better than 5th position at the African Cup; I hope at least to do as well. A medal would be extraordinary. I am very aware that I do not have the level I used to have. But I will give everything and the main thing is to fight. And you can lean on me for that.”

“I see this competition as a “benchmark competition”. The main goal is to be ready for the African Championships in September.”

On her readiness for the star-studded tournament, she said: “I am not very prepared but the goal is not to be prepared now. My goal is to be ready for the African Championship. Thus, I am currently working on my physical condition. I am doing physical exercises on a daily basis. Unfortunately, I can’t go to the club more that once a week.”

Sarah Hanffou acknowledged the strides made by Nigeria and Egypt; which she said has helped to put the continent on the world map. “Obviously, Egypt and Nigeria are the leaders by far and represent very well Africa at the international level. I have a lot of respect for them. Alongside, I have seen many young talents coming from all over Africa. But frankly, at the regional level the means are not given to the young players.  The situation is much more disastrous for girls/women. If we want to improve the level, a development plan must be put into place at the regional level and it starts with the youngest ones, and the countries where table tennis is not very developed. A radical change must be made in this matter. I am very eager to see any action from the African Table tennis Federation.”