Aly Ghallab in action at the recent 2016 ITTF-Africa Senior Championships (Photo: courtesy of ITTF-African Table Tennis Federation)
by Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Editor
Sponsored by the Swaythling Club International, on Wednesday 7th December, the Fair Play Award will be presented in Cape Town, South Africa, at the conclusion of the Sun International World Junior Championships.
One year ago, when the tournament was staged in the French town of La Roche sur Yon in the splendid Vendéspace arena, Egypt’s Aly Ghallab received the award.
In the Boys’ Team event, the overall score in the fixture against Belgium stood at two matches to one for Egypt. Aly Ghallab faced Thibaut Darcis, the contest went the full five games distance; in the fifth game the two players were level at 7-all.
Aly Ghallab served, seemingly he had won the point and had an 8-7 lead. The officials awarded the point to the Egyptian. However, Aly Ghallab, to his great credit, advised the umpire that the ball had touched his face during the service action and the point should be awarded to his adversary; the decision was reversed.
Thibaut Darcis won the contest (11-5, 9-11, 6-11, 11-5, 11-8) and secured a Belgian victory.
The award involves a cheque for US$ 1,500; the prize to be used for career development; certainly the Egyptian teenager has most certainly honoured the agreement.
He used the money to finance a visit to Heidelberg in German from Monday 3rd to Saturday 8th October, where he attended coaching sessions under the direction of Eva Jeler and Peter Gardos.
“It was a great pleasure and big honour to meet Eva Jeler and Peter Gardos in Heidelberg, it was only five days but it was really tough; I used every second and every point to improve myself. I still remember Eva’s words: “you have a lot of talent and working with you is so much fun”. I am now practising what she advised. I want to thank her and Peter for their efforts.” Aly Ghallab
A just reward for honesty and integrity; the award was well spent.