Alikhan Kazia is a 22 year old Kenyan who has recently caught the attention of the world, once again. Kazia started his career in table tennis at the tender age of 10 years old, in 2009 and within his first year of playing the sport, qualified for the national team. He played with the Under 16 Kenya team for the entire next year and represented Kenya in Egypt and other countries. He continued to play at the school level, national level and East African level for the remainder of his year.
At 16, he made it to the senior team. Which in itself is an amazing accomplishment for a young Athlete like Alikhan. He continued to represent Kenya at a national level at tournaments in Congo and the All African games, to name a few. Kazia is still a representative for the Kenya Senior Table Tennis team and is ranked #3 at the national level.
In 2018, Kazia along with his good friend from university, Taheer Alibhai, began learning how to do trickshots while playing table tennis. They took inspiration from the people they had seen go viral on the internet and social media and would often re-create those trickshots. However, they both knew that they wanted to showcase their own trickshots to a wide community, hence Pongmasters was born. Initially though, Kazia and Alibhai had opted for the name AK_TTT which stood for Alikhan Kazia, Table Tennis Trickshots. They later decided they needed a brand to attach these trickshots to, and hence Pongmasters. They had no idea what was to come.
Once the pages were created, it was time to begin creating some content. Kazia and Alibhai set out to create their own original challenges using simple items such as cups, tiles, cement blocks among other things to create their trickshot spaces. Both being in university together at the time, it was a perfect time to be practicing this as both had ample time to commit. The two were regulars at the Aga Khan Sports Centre, where they practiced and set up their trickshots. Kazia says, “Trickshots were tough some days, we’d dedicate about 4-5 hours a day, 4 days a week and some days the whole time we’d only be practicing one trickshot. Other days we’d get through them in minutes.”
Within a few months of consistent posting and practicing on their Pongmasters platforms, they started to get some traction. They’ve been recognised at both a national and global level. Having been featured in KTN locally, 9gag, SkySports and the Daily Mail to name a few. The duo had numerous videos that went viral and caught the attention of so many fans around the world.
When Kazia was featured on BBC Sports, the media team reached out to him to gauge his interest in participating in the Guinness World Record Challenges. This was an exciting opportunity for Alikhan to show off his skills and be featured in a globally recognised platform. Once Kazia was in touch with the media team from Guinness, they provided him with the challenges that he would be able to participate in and he set out to complete them. Each time, the media team would expedite his application on the platform to allow him to get seen quicker.
However he quickly learnt that qualifying isn’t an easy process. “We needed 4 witnesses- all of whom couldn’t be related to me in any way. We also needed 2 videographers and multiple pictures to be taken. They also told me that I needed to do it in a public area, and so we chose to do it at the Aga Khan Sports Centre. It was a rigorous and detailed process.” Kazia mentions. The current record he’s broken is for the most number of ping pong balls bounced into a cup in a minute, and now his record stands at 17!
We’re all so proud of Alikhan Kazia and all his achievements so far, from being recognised at a national level and by multiple global news platforms and now- the Guinness World Records. The sky's the limit for you, Alikhan- keep soaring!