Qatar make history with Arab TT victory
QTTA president says win is proof of growth of sport in the region
The Qatar men’s team caused a major upset when they defeated Tunisia 3-2 to clinch the 25th Arab Table Tennis Championship, which was held from August 23 to 29 in hammamet, Tunisia. This is the first time that a GCC country has emerged champion in the 50-year history of the biennial tournament. Fifteen countries - Qatar, egypt, Saudi Arabia, Algeria, Yemen, Morocco, Libya, the United Arab emirates, Djibouti, Bahrain, Lebanon, Palestine, Iraq, Jordan and the hosts Tunisia - participated in the seven-day competition which also featured contests in the women's, junior boys and girls, Under-21 men's and cadet boys and girls sections. en route the final, the Qatar team, which consisted of Rio Olympic qualifier Li Ping, captain Ahmad Khalil al Mohannadi and Fahed al Mughanne, knocked out pre to-
urnament’s favourites egypt 3-2 in the semi-finals before stamping their authority over favourites Tunisians with the same margin to emerge victorious. The contingent also had another reason to smile with the cadet boys’ team bagging the silver medal after losing to egypt 3-0 in the final. Speaking to the Qatar Tribune, Qatar Table Tennis Association (QTTA) President Khalil Ahmed al Mohannadi said that the association is very proud of the team’s historical feat. “The achievement is not only for us but for the entire GCC. It is a proof that table tennis is growing in the region and that home-grown players are developing well. The future of the sport is very bright and I believe that this is just the beginning of what we can do,” he said. he added that the team have greatly benefited from the various experiences they gathered over the years as a result of exposures to top level com petitions and training camps. “Our development programme has been wonderful and new talented players are being discovered from time to time. We believe that with the plans that we have, table tennis would soon become one of the most popular sports in the country and the region,” he added. Speaking about the experience at the just-concluded Rio Olympic Games, the veteran sports administrator said the Games was rewarding for the country for two major reasons. “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.” he added that he had the opportunity to meet and discuss the future of the sport with various stakeholders from all over the world on how to further promote the sport.