Tunisian ambassador backs Mohannadi for top job at ITTF
The envoy says QTTA president’s interest in the global sport body’s leadership is good for all Arabs
The Tunisian Ambassador in Qatar HE Salah al Salhi has expressed support for the candidature of Khalil Ahmed al Mohannadi, the QTTA president and ITTF vice-president, for the presidency of the global body for table tennis in the election in May. Speaking during a visit to the table tennis chief in Doha on Thursday, Salhi said that the aspiration of the Qatar Table Tennis Association president for the head of the global sport body is not only for Qatar but for Tunisia as well and the rest of the Arab world. ”This is the first time that an Arab will be vying for the leadership of the International Table Tennis Federation since its establishment in 1926 and I see it as something the Arab world should be proud of and give all the necessary support,” the envoy said. Salhi added that Qatar has proved its mettle in table tennis globally with the annual Qatar Open which has continued to attract top players in the world as well as the year-ending ITTF World Tour and the Star Awards which it successfully hosted last year. “The wealth of experience of Mr. Khalil in sport administration cannot be overemphasised having being involved with table tennis for close to three decades. I think he is the best man for the job at the moment,” he added. Aside from Mohannadi, two other candidates - Germany’s Thomas Weikert, the current ITTF president and Jean- Michel Saive of Belgium- have announced their candidacy for the election which will be held in Düsseldorf, Germany, on May 31. ITTF is the largest global sport governing body with 222 member associations. In his response, Mohannadi thanked the ambassador for his visit and expressed his delight at his support for his candidacy. “I believe it is high time table tennis advance to a greater level globally. I’m bringing on board rich experience garnered over the years which will further help in developing our sport and attract bigger interest worldwide,” the QTTA president said. He added that his candidacy is not only for the Arabs alone but for all lovers of the sport throughout the world. “I am proud that the QTTA has made huge progress during my years in office and has become one of the leading and most successful organisers of high level world table tennis events”, he said. He added that as part of his manifesto, he intends to ensure major marketing improvement with title sponsors for all World title events, in particular the ITTF World Tour, and to increase the popularity of table tennis worldwide and gain the recognition of all major television channels. "I also intend to promote ITTF Development Programmes in all aspects as well as unify the eligibility rule for all international events to be the same as the regulations required for the Olympic Games besides ensuring transparencyin all ITTF financial transactions,"he added.