Table tennis with Farhaan Ahmed: “If you want it – try it”
Read a story of Somerton table tennis coach Farhaan Ahmed. A story of struggle, hard work, self-belief and great victory.
Do you have a dream? What would you do to achieve it?
Following your dream is not easy, you may encounter mockery, disbelief or misunderstanding. But the only thing you really need is self-belief because only this will help you on your way to success.
According to Dr Joe Rubino, who is an expert on the topic of self-esteem and personal development, around 85% of people around the world suffer from low self-esteem. People may not feel good about themselves due to the rise of social media and its portrayal of a “perfect” lifestyle, improper atmosphere in families, conflicts at school, college or work, physical or psychological disorders etc.
No matter the cause, low self-esteem will not help you become a better person and achieve your goals. You should understand the only thing, which stands between you and your dream, is yourself. Neither external circumstances, public attitudes, nor physical defects should stop you.
Our top table tennis coach Farhaan Ahmed is a great example of a person who came to success, although no one believed in him.
Love from the first serve
Farhaan got obsessed with table tennis at middle school. He was only 13 when he came to his friend’s house, saw a table for table tennis… and got mesmerized instantly. The sound of a ball, the pacing, the movements – everything seemed so easy. That day the friend taught him some basic movements and the boy quickly fell in love with the game.
Scores or joy?
This is where the story would normally end. But Farhaan had to go a long way to become a professional player. Mainly because nobody believed he could do it.
Farhaan has a right side hemiplegia. It is a genetic condition, which makes the right side of his body weaker. Besides, he is epileptic as well. Not something you would expect from a table tennis champion, right? Because of this Farhaan had a hard time while training, nobody wanted to play with him. Children at school are very competitive and cruel to those, who are different.
But for Farhaan table tennis was never about competition, it was about having fun. “The main thing about table tennis is not the score,” he says, “it is the game, its process. Table tennis is a sport anyone can play and no one is limited. You don’t need any equipment, just a ball and a racket. You don’t need any special training as well. You don’t even need a partner, play by yourself if you like. All you need is your desire because this is where table tennis starts – from fun and enjoyment from the game.”
Exceeding all expectations
As you can guess, neither physical disability nor public rejection stopped Farhaan from pursuing his goal. He used to watch videos of Will Bayley and learn the style of his play. Bayley was his biggest role model and he wanted to be like him one day. Farhaan trained by himself and with friends and soon became the best player in his school. Something none of his classmates achieved.
Since then Farhaan has won 3 Table Tennis championships in 2017, 2018, and 2019 and played in trials against the Paralympic team in the Paralympic Table Tennis tournament. That’s a great journey for someone who didn’t have partners to play with at school.
Coaching as a vocation
After that Farhaan became a table tennis coach. He knows how hard it is to make the first step and try something new, so he decided to inspire others to pick up a racket and give it a go. He likes to work with children the most. They are easily interested but they also easily give up if they can’t do something. Children need more motivation and less pressure, that is why Farhaan makes his lessons entertaining, funny and encouraging.
“I want them to feel the excitement from the game. I want them to laugh if they lose, not to get angry or frustrated. Of course, you need to work hard, if you want to play well. We train different techniques, spins, footwork, stand etc. but it all means nothing if you are not enjoying yourself in the process.”
Good to know that his efforts payback. Parents love to see their children show interest in sport and children love their sessions with Farhaan and looking forward to seeing him again.
Just try it
If you ask Farhaan any beginner’s advice to play table tennis, he would say: “Just try it!” Sometimes, it is the hardest thing to do, when the whole world and even your body tells you “No”.
Farhaan has gone an incredible way from a kid no one wanted to play with to a sports champion who played against the Paralympic team. His story proves to all of us that everything is possible if you just believe in yourself.
“Sometimes we limit ourselves in our ambitions. Pursuing your goal takes time but as long as you work hard, you achieve anything you want.”