Honours shared, titles for Qatar, Tunisia, Egypt, Saudi Arabia and Bahrain at Arab Team Championship
Seven days of action, play at the 2016 Arab Club Championships concluded in the Tunisian town of Hammamet on Monday 29th August with Qatar and Tunisia capturing the principle titles on offer.
Represented by Li Ping, Ahmed Al-Mohannadi and Fahed Almughanne; Qatar secured the Men’s Team crown; Tunisia fielding the trio of Safa Saidani, Saher Othmane and Rawia Ben Ameur emerged as the Women’s Team champions.
by Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Editor
However for both it was a testing journey to the top step of the podium with Qatar being grateful for the services of Li Ping in the title deciding contest in opposition to Tunisia.
He beat both Adem Hmam (14, 12-10, 11-9) and Oussama Chaieb (11-2, 11-6, 11-4) in a three matches to two success. The one remaining win for Qatar was secured by Ahmed Al-Mohannadi; in the second match of the fixture he overcame Oussama Chaieb (11-5, 11-6, 11-4); for Tunisia, their wins came in the third and fourth matches of the contest as a revival was mounted.
Thameur Mamia accounted for Fahed Almughanne (15-13, 11-8, 14-12), Adem Hmam overcame Ahmed Al-Mohannadi (11-7, 9-11, 6-11, 11-8, 11-8).
Gold for Qatar, silver for Tunisia; it was bronze for Saudi Arabia. In the third place play-off contest, the Saudi Arabian trio of Ali Alkhadrawi, Abdulaziz Al-Abbad and Akram Al-Ghamdi overcame the Algerian trio of Sami Kherouf, Naim Karali and Mohammed Salah Zaidi by three matches to nil.
Match ratio decided
A hard fought contest; life was even harder for Safa Saidani, Saher Othmane and Rawia Ben Ameur in the Women’s Team event.
In a group organised event, they beat the Algerian trio comprising Yasmine Nasri, Lynda Loghraibi and Widad Nouari by three matches to one but later suffered a three-two defeat at the hands of Qatar’s Maha Faramazi, Ai Mohamed and Noora Al-Abri.
Success for Qatar but in their concluding contest it was defeat at the hands Algeria; a three-two result being the outcome.
Thus match ratio determined the outcome; it was first place for Tunisia (5:4), with Qatar in second spot (5:5) and Algeria third (4:5).
Three titles secured
Success for Qatar and Tunisia but the most successful nation on duty at the end of proceedings was Egypt. They secured three titles and came very close to a fourth.
The combination of Amira Yousry, Marwa Alhodaby and Mariam Alhodaby won the Junior Girls’ Team title finishing in first place in a group organised event. Second place went to the Tunisian outfit comprising Fadwa Garci, Abir Haj Salah and Islam Wenaiss with Algeria’s Yassamine Bouhenni, Loubna Djedjik and Hiba Feredj in third place.
Similarly Egypt enjoyed success in both the Cadet Boys’ Team and Cadet Girls’ Team competitions.
Marwan Abdelwahab, Ahmed Elborhamy and Abdelrahaman Dendan combined to win the Cadet Boys’ Team title beating the Qatari trio of Abdulaziz Al-Abdulla, Nawaf Al-Malki and Abdulaziz Mohd by three matches to nil at the final hurdle.
Third place went to Tunisian outfit formed by Youssef Ben Attia, Aboubaker Bourass and Khaid Sta; in the bronze medal contest they overcame the Algerian formation of Abdelbasset Chaichi, Azzeddine Lazazi and Abderrahmane Sebia by three matches to two.
Top spot for the boys, it was the same for their female counterparts in the Cadet Girls’ Team competition. In a group organised event, Eman Taha, Rinad Fathy and Malak Khaled finished in first place ahead of Tunisia’s Manel Baklouti, Fadwa Garci and Samar Hichri with the Algerian trio of Malissa Nasri, Houda Nourhane Taguercifi and Hadjee Tahmi in third spot. Success in group organised event
Meanwhile, in the two remaining events, it was success for Saudi Arabia and Bahrain.
“It is very difficult to describe my feelings when I raised the Saudi flag high in the Arab Championship. The preparations for this tournament were very good. I played in the Croatian Open as well as attending a training camp in Saudi Arabia. I went with my team to China and Hungary to prepare well. Tension was present in all the matches because I don’t accept losing at all. “ Abdulaziz Bu Shulaybi after the Under 21 Men’s Team final"
Represented by Abdulaziz Bu Shulaybi, Ali Alkadrawi and Muhamed Alsharif; in group organised competition, Saudi Arabia won the Under 21 Men’s Team title. They finished ahead of Bahrain represented by Alyas Alyassi, Rashed Sanad and Sayed Ali Mabfoodh with the Tunisian outfit comprising Thameur Mamia, Chouab Lagha and Nadim Ben Mekki in third spot.
“Winning is a great feeling. I am looking forward to playing in more tournaments to gain experience. Tactical attacking play was key to winning today. Ali Alkhadrawi after winning the Under 21 Men’s Team title"
Hard fought successes but nothing could match the Junior Boys’ Team final which saw Bahrain beat Egypt by three matches to two in a most dramatic contest.
of course I’m very happy after winning a very tough Match and really I can’t express my feeling because it is the first time we get this achievement as everyone knows that Egypt team is the African champion and Egypt champion as well so I feel great pride for my country Bahrain. The attack technique is the secret of my success in all matches. I’m thinking carefully to win in the U21BT Final.
“I’m very proud of myself today to be as Arab champion in Tunisia .It made a great difference when I changed my tactics of playing and I was clear what I was needed . The most important fact was that I kept my concentrations very high and, certainly this is one of my great achievements. Preparation for this tournament was good, the team attended a camp in Serbia and from there directly to the Tunisia to win our secret goal, the gold medal”. Husain Murtadha after beating Karim Elhakem"
Hero of the hour was Husain Murtadha; in the vital fifth and deciding match of the fixture, he recovered from a two games to one deficit to beat Karim Elhakem by the very minimal two point margin in the deciding fifth game (6-11, 13-11, 9-11, 11-4, 12-10).
Nerves of steel from Husain Murtadha but the mainstay of victory was Rashed Sanad. He beat both Karim Elhakem (10-12, 11-9, 12-10, 11-5) and Youssef Abdel-Aziz (12-10, 13-11, 8-11, 11-6) to set the scene for Husain Murtadha.
“Of course I’m very happy after winning a very tough match and really I can’t express my feelings because it is the first time we realise this achievement. Everyone knows that Egypt team is the African champion, I feel great a great sense of pride for my country Bahrain. Attacking was the secret of my success in all the matches”, Rashed Sanad after the Junior Boys’ Team final."
The wins for Egypt came in the opening match of the fixture when Youssef Abdel-Aziz beat Husain Murtadha (11-4, 11-2, 11-4) and in the third contest when Abdelrahman Rahmnou overcame Sayed Husain Mahfoodh (12-10, 11-6, 11-5).
ITTF World Junior Circuit
Proceedings concluded at the Arab Team Championships; attention now turns to the 2016 Tunisia Junior and Cadet Open; play begins on Wednesday 31st August.