Abdel-Kader SALIFOU returns to French squadPhoto: FFTT_JulienCrosnier
LIEBHERR 2018 World Team Table Tennis Championships in Halmstad (April 29-May 6)
Abdel-Kader SALIFOU, 28, is delighted with his comeback to the French National Team, no. 4 seed at the LIEBHERR 2018 World Team Table Tennis Championships in the Swedish city of Halmstad. Speaking for FFTT website, Rouen player (actual WR 106) has emphasized that he is very excited to stand alongside Can AKKUZU (WR 90, age 20, right-handed, attacker), Simon GAUZY (WR 10, age 23, right-handed, attacker), Emmanuel LEBESSON (WR 28, age 30, left-handed, attacker) and Quentin ROBINOT (WR 99, age 25, right-handed, attacker). They will play in Group D with Korea Republic (no. 5), Austria (no. 11), India (no. 13), Croatia (no. 20), Poland (no. 22).
“I'm obviously very happy with this return, as any sportsman dreams of playing in French National Team. My story is a little different from the other players, knowing that my first selection was ten years ago, for the 2008 World Championships. A year and a half ago, I decided to change my training center by going to Saarbrücken, Germany, with the aim to progress in Pro Tou events. I wasn’t focused on my return to French team, but that happened thanks to my good performances at the Pro Tour tournaments. I am obviously very happy”, stated Abdel-Kader SALIFOU about invitation of Coach Patrick CHILA.
SALIFOU spent fifteen years at INSEP, famous institute of sport in France, place where many world class players in all sports started their careers (for instance famous basketball stars Tony PARKER and Boris DIAW).
“I felt that I need to discover a different vision, hence I went to Germany… Yes, I am satisfied, because I made several nice performances against players of the Top 100. I went back at World no. 83 at the beginning of the year, my best ranking so far, and I rejoin the team of France earlier than I assumed. I was surprised to reach French team so quickly, knowing that my last selection happened at the 2015 European Championships in Lisbon”.
Speaking about his goals in Halmstad, SALIFOU explained:
“I do not really have personal goals, as we speak about World Team Championships. I will really try to help the team as much as I can. Of course, Coach will decide what my role is. I think we have a chance to make a good result, I hope quarter-finals at least. There are no weak teams in our group, but we have a chance to be in the first three, which would allow us to qualify for quarters or eighths, depending on our place in the group”.