South African ladies claim first ever African Games table tennis medal

For the first time in the history of the African Games, the South African female team has claimed her first medal after settling for a bronze medal at the 13th African Games in Accra, Ghana. The ladies have also equalled their men’s record after the Shane Overmeyer-led team claimed a bronze medal at Algiers 2007.

It was the quarterfinal tie against host – Ghana that was the icing on the cake for the South Africans after coming from 2-0 down to beat the Ghanaian ladies 3-2 to book their place in the medal zone.

When the tie was 2-2, it was Danisha Patel that rose to the occasion against Ghana’s Celia Baah-Danso that even when Celia took a 2-0 lead, the experience of Patel came to the fore as she was not disturbed by the home girl support from the fans.

The 31-year-old carried knowing what was at stake and she leveled up to win the game at 8-11, 8-11, 11-6, 11-8, 11-8. The win practically handed Patel and her teammates a place in the medal zone.

But their journey to improve their medal to a higher one was thwarted by Nigerian ladies led by veteran Offiong Edem with a 3-0 defeat in the semifinal.

A satisfied Patel said: “We are excited that we can win a medal at last especially with all the support this team has got from the South African Table Tennis Board (SATTB). Most especially when we defeated our common rival Angola was a sweet victory for us and the match against Ghana really put a lot of pressure on us. But even as experienced as I am I cannot tell you that I was not under any pressure during the match because every match is different. We hope and believe this medal will bring more development to the sport and more female players will embrace the sport and work harder to be the best.”

Patel who is attending her third African Games said she would continue to play until injury stops her while affirming her passion for the sport.