Anande Kuse, 18, from Nyanga, a first year film production student at CPUT, can hardly wait to start packing her bags for Tunisia, to take part in next month’s International Table Tennis Federation’s Junior and Cadet Championship.
Ranked in the top 10 in the under-19 category in South Africa, the young player booked her spot at the championships based on her results in previous tournaments.
She was also invited by the South African Table Tennis Board (SATTB) to take part in qualifying trials. Introduced to the game at an early age, Anande has previously represented SA in the under-15 category in Mauritius, where she finished in the top 10.
A member of the Belhar-based Top Table Tennis Club, Anande was introduced to the game at an early age while at primary school. Although cautiously optimistic about the upcoming championships, the promising teen believes her preparations and all the hard work that had gone in will stand her in good stead when facing Africa’s best in her division.
“I will make sure that I make it to the top 16. After that, anything is possible,” the former Walter Teka Primary School and Sithembele Matiso Secondary School pupil said.
“I am glad to say she did very well in the trials and qualified once again to represent South Africa,” said Top Table Tennis Club coach Kelvin Smith.
Smith, one of the club’s founder members, along with twin brothers Stanley and Stanford Nomdo, says she has the willingness, dedication and discipline to attain better ranking and performances.
“She is an all-round player, but more attacking than defensive. Unfortunately, Covid-19 manifested and a break was required, which hampered further growth,” he said.
“One of our players, Avron Garret (a paraplegic player), was employed by the Department of Culture Affairs and Sport as an enrichment officer at Walter Teka Primary. He introduced their pupils, among them Anande, to the sport of table tennis. He then asked me to ‘polish up’ their skillset as there are certain areas he could not cover. This is where our journey started and continues,” he said.
It’s been a busy few months for the spirited player balancing her studies, assignments and training. She had to put in extra hours following an illness earlier this year that put her out of action for a few weeks, but bounced back to put in a fine performance at the Cape Town Table Tennis Open championships in May, to qualify for a spot at the national championships in Durban, later this year. It’s really tough out there but thankfully, I have the support to keep me going,” she said.
She’s not the only member of her family doing well at table tennis as her cousin and teammate, Amyoli Kuse, 12, also qualified to go to the national championships.
“Amyoli has been practising with us for three years and finally he made the breakthrough and played himself into the Cape Town Table Tennis Federation’s. under-13 boys team,” said Smith.
“Anande’s twin brother Anathi, is also a provincial player, although he did not make the 2022 team. He just fell short by a few points at this year’s trials. Their uncle Akhona is a senior member also of the club and has represented well in the national Universities Sport South Africa (USSA) Games.