Abrefa looks to World Championship to pick Olympic ticket

Author: Kwame Larweh
Derek Abrefa - Hopeful he would qualify to the Olympics
Derek Abrefa - Hopeful he would qualify to the Olympics

Ghana’s table tennis star Derek Abrefa says he is still hopeful of qualifying to compete in the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games despite suffering a setback at the recent Olympic qualification tournament in Tunisia.

Abrefa and his teammate, Emmanuel Commey, both failed to win the Olympic slots at last month’s qualifiers in Tunis. However, he is  looking up to the upcoming World Table Tennis Championships in Busan, South Korea, to make qualify for the Tokyo Games.

Abrefa, 28, is counting recent training programme he undertook at the Westchester Table Tennis Centre in New York and Nigeria to boost his chances at the June 21 to 28 Championship in Busan.

“I have been to Nigeria for another training tour to sharpen my skills for the upcoming event and I’m currently preparing for it,” he told the Graphic Sports in an interview in Accra.

Abrefa indicated also that he was also looking forward to returning to the US to join a table tennis club to enhance his career.

During his training programme in the US, the 12-time national champion has an opportunity to train with some of the best p,ayers in the game, including world-class players such as Kai Zhang, ranked third in the US and 191 globally; and three-time Caribbean champion, Robert Roberts. They were opportunities the Ghanaian believes can propel him to the top of the sport, particularly as he has his sights on the 2023 African Games to be hosted in Ghana.

While back home, Abrefa says he would help groom younger players and impart some of the skills he acquired during the training tour of the US.

“I express my profound gratitude to Stanbic Bank Ghana Money Wallet for believing in my dreams and sponsoring me on this trip. I also thank the Westchester Table Tennis Center, especially the owner, Will Shortz, who opened his home to me at no cost. And I thank all the coaches at the Westchester Centre for their help and support.”