Rio Games a rewarding experience :Mohannadi
QTTA president confident of winning the ITTF presidency in next May’s general election
QATAR Table Tennis Association (QTTA) President Khalil Ahmed al Mohannadi has said that the country’s participation in the table tennis event of the Rio Olympics has been a rewarding experience. “Our player Li Ping gave a good account of himself but he was just unlucky as he narrowly lost 3-4 to Germany’s Dimitrij Ovtcharov, the world No. 5 in the third round. Also, Rio afforded me the opportunity of pitching my candidacy for the presidency of the ITTF to my colleagues from all over the world and the reception and supports were tremendous,” he said. He added that he equally had the opportunity to meet and discuss the future of the sport with the various stakeholders from all over the world on how to further promote the sport. On his chances of winning the presidency of the ITTF during the election which will be held in May, 2017, Mohannadi said, “I think I have a very strong chance based on my over 25 years experience and the tremendous support I enjoy across the board. “Though ITTF is the biggest sports association in the world with over 200 affiliates, this is the first time an Arab will be contesting for the exalted position in its over a 100-year history. I believe I have the backing of the continent and the goodwill of the delegates all over the world,” Mohannadi, who is also vicepresident of Arab Table Tennis Association as well as the vice-president of Asian Table Tennis Union, said. Currently, there are three candidates, the incumbent Thomas Weikert from Germany, Belgium’s Jean-Michel Saive, a former player and winner of two Qatar Open (1996 and 2002) and Mohannadi who have indicated their interest for the top seat in world table tennis. Mohannadi will emerge the first Arab to hold the position of the head of the world's largest sports federation, with 222 member countries, as well as its eighth president since its inception in 1926, if he wins the election next year. Apart from the position of the president, various other offices will be contested for during the election. "I believe the experience I have garnered over the years in the various positions I have served will come handy in moving the federation and our sport forward," said the Mohannadi who joined the board of ITTF in 2001 and became an Executive Committee member in 2005 before becoming its deputy president in 2014.