Who is coachkhaleel?
Khaleel Asgarali spent his first few years in St. James, a thriving town on the outskirts of the capital of Port-of-Spain, Trinidad & Tobago (T&T). He is the second of two (2) children born to Nazruddin and Shamoon Asgarali, who migrated to Maryland, in the United States of America, in 1992.
His father was a former T&T table-tennis player for more than 20 years and young Khaleel was fascinated with the sport, so much so that he used the family dining table as his first practice board.
Dad, Nazruddin, saw his interest and joined Khaleel at his makeshift board, using vegetable cans in place of a net.
His father served as his coach in his early years in Maryland, U.S.A., where he represented his school and eventually started taking part in competitions in his state.
The first such competition was a junior tournament in Maryland, which he won. Although he was just 10 years old, and facing other competitors as old as 18 years, Khaleel was unfazed and was a deserved winner.
As a result of his love for the game Khaleel played in tournaments every weekend, which delighted his father as he too continued playing.
Asgarali’s father maintained contact with many T&T table-tennis players and officials and eventually Khaleel was invited to return to Trinidad and Tobago to take part in the 2003 National Championships, which was held in San Fernando.
Asgarali was thrilled at the prospect and continued to stay in contact with local officials afterwards.
He continued winning many tournaments, during his junior years in the U.S.A., and eventually Table-Tennis United States came calling and he was selected to their junior team in 2003. However, he informed his father of his preference to represent the country of his birth and turned down the offer from Team U.S.A.
Later in 2003, Asgarali was selected on the Trinidad and Tobago junior team to the Caribbean Junior Championships in Guyana, where he earned a silver medal in the team event, and was still in the quarter finals of both singles and doubles when he had to withdraw due to a torn rotator cuff.
In 2004 he was selected on the senior team for the Caribbean Championships held in T&T and earned another medal, this time a bronze.
Asgarali continued to perform well on his return to the United States and won his first T&T Men’s Singles titles in 2005 as well as earning two (2) bronze medals at the Caribbean Championships
in Guatemala City, Guatemala.
A crowning moment for Asgarali came when he was selected as part of the Trinidad and Tobago contingent to the Commonwealth Games, in 2006, hosted by Melbourne, Australia. In an important “derby match” against Barbados, he won a key match against Trevor Farley, assisting Anthony Brown’s wins to push Trinidad and Tobago to victory. However, he was once again plagued muscular fatigue as he was only 2 months post operation from his shoulder surgery.
Asgarali consequently made the move to the professional ranks later in 2006, joining Swedish club, Spårvägen, which was coached by former Trinidad and Tobago team coach, Marcus Gustafson.
Khaleel improved vastly from his season in Sweden, maintaining a high ranking in his age group and playing positive in his league matches. He also won a few age group tournaments against much more experienced and formally trained foes. However, playing abroad was became an increasing financial burden, and his performances were not acknowledged or rewarded by the Trinidad and Tobago Table Tennis federation. Lacking funding and support from both his home country’s association and private sponsors, Asgarali decided to accept a full athletic scholarship to study in Puerto Rico, where he continued playing as well as getting into coaching.
He took some time off from the sport to focus on academics during that period but still managed to participate in at least two tournaments a year. By the time he graduated from the University of Puerto Rico, Recinto de Rio Piedras, in 2012 Asgarali had become more interested in coaching.
He continued on the United States circuit, where he won a few tournaments from 2012 to 2015, before taking some time away from serious competition, as coaching was paying his bills. Asgarali returned to training in 2015, when he returned to Europe to play in the German League for DJK Leutershausen. Una very successful season, Khaleel played a 95% win ratio, finishing as the number two player in the league. In 2016-2017 he managed to move up again to stronger competition, helping his team DJK-SPVGG Effeltrich to play undefeated and win their league, being promoted to the 3rd Bundesliga. The result was a huge event for the small German town.
Asgarali is intent on giving back to the sport he loves as he continues to coach and play full time. He is driven by his belief that the players need the right guidance and support for them to be successful in table tennis.
He continues to follow his dream of making table tennis a respected and popular sport worldwide. Focusing on marketing and growth for the sport, he hopes that he can help encourage people to discover the wonderful sport and realize his dream of sharing his passion for table tennis with the whole world.