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One Winner in Qatar Above All Others, Ali Bin Hamad al Attyia Arena

Top seed, China’s Ma Long justified his exalted billing to win the Men’s Singles title at the 2016 ITTF World Tour Qatar Open in Doha which concluded on Sunday 27th March. Meanwhile, colleague Liu Shiwen emerged as the most successful player in the whole tournament; she won the Women’s Doubles title in harness with Ding Ning, before overcoming her partner in the final of the Women’s Singles event to claim the coveted title.

Likewise, on the concluding day of action there was further success for China with Fan Zhendong and Zhang Jike being crowned Men’s Doubles champions. Last Word in Excellence However, if there was one winner that was acclaimed by all, it was the state-of-the-art Ali Bin Hamad al Attyia Arena, the last world in excellence; premises which were only one year old and had been built to house the 2015 World Handball Championships. Extensive tiered seating, controlled air conditioning plus all the necessary ancillary features, the Jacuzzi in the players’ lounge being a particular item of note. Fantastic Venue "It's quite simply a fantastic venue, it has all the up-to-date facilities”, said Khaled El-Salhy, the President of the African Table Tennis Federation and a Special Advisor to the Arab Table Tennis Union. “I would like to see more table tennis here, more Arab events here”, he added enthusiastically. “I would like to see this wonderful stadium full of spectators; that would create a great atmosphere.” Players’ Perspective Equally it was the same reaction from the players’ perspective. “Great, a great venue; not only a great venue but also top class accommodation”, said Vladimir Samsonov, the Chair of the Players’ Commission who is no stranger to Qatar, having won the Men’s Singles title in both 2003 and more recently in 2015.

Special Care “Always Qatar is one of very best tournaments, here they take special care of you”, continued Vladimir Samsonov. “We have never had facilities like this; plenty of space for the players, a Jacuzzi; just tremendous but that's how it should be; also, a great practice hall, perfect!” I doubt any player would have been disappointed if the tournament had been played in the practice hall; such were the very high standards. The Equation The goal on the ITTF World Tour and tournaments of a similar stature must be to present the very highest standards possible; surely it then follows that players react, high level playing facilities result in high level play, is that not the equation? At the 2016 ITTF World Tour Qatar Open, whether player, coach, official or simply spectator, the facilities provided were of the very highest levels; in the Ali Bin Hamad al Attyia Arena each and every one was a VIP, a very important person.

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