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El Jaish to clash with Al Rayyan in Emir Cup table tennis tourney

Army Club in good stead for a second four-trophy season finish

Officials from QTTA and the participating clubs during the Emir Cup draw ceremony at the QTTA Training Centre in Doha recently.

Doha DEFENDING champions El Jaish will start their title defense with a titanic clash against Al Rayyan at the 2017 Emir Cup table tennis championship which begins at the QTTA Training Centre in Doha on April 19. The opening match of the seven-day tournament, which ends on April 25, will see Al Ahli vying against Al Khor while the El Jaish versus Al Rayyan match will be held on April 20. In all, ten clubs El Jaish, Al Rayyan, Al Ahli, Al Khor, Al Arabi, Al Sadd, Al Wakrah, Al Shamal, Al Gharafa and Qatar Sports Club are participating in the season-ending tournament. The Army team, captained by Ahmed Khalil al Mohanna-di, defeated Qatar Sports Club 3-0 last year to lift the prestigious trophy for the first time in the club’s history. son to repeat last year’s performance. They have three trophies in their kitty, after winning the league as well as the single and doubles trophies of the Qatar Cup and a successful defence of the Emir Cup will make the team reach unprecedented heights in the history of table tennis in Qatar. "Our players have been in fine form and we are happy to be dominating the sport at the moment in Qatar. Our target is to always be the winner in all the competitions we participate in and we are looking for-ward to winning the Emir Cup title as well," Khalid al Kuwari, head of table tennis at El jaish club, told Qatar Tribune recently. Besides dominating the local scene, El Jaish had done the nation proud on the in-ternational stage by winning the bronze medal at the Arab Table Tennis Championship held in Agadir, Morocco, last October.

While El Jaish will be hoping to further cement their invincibility, five-time champions Al Rayyan, on the other hand, are hoping to bounce back to reckoning with this year’s tournament.The Lions, who last won the tournament in 2012, will have another opportunity to avenge their Qatar Cup loss to El Jaish as the two top teams meet in the opening rounds of the competition. El Jaish had defeated Al Rayyan 3-2 in the semi-finals of the penultimate season-ending tournament before dispatching Al Arabi 3-0 in the final match to lift the trophy.

The Al Rayyan side recent-ly gained promotion to the ta-ble tennis premier league after spending sometime in the lower division and they will be hoping to further cement their stay with a win at this year’s Emir Cup.In the other fixtures, Al Wakrah will clash with Al Shamal on April 20 while Al Arabi will face the winner be-tween Al Ahli and Al Khor on the same day.Al Sadd, will begin their campaign against the win

ner between Al Wakrah and Al Shamal while Gharafa will start against Qatar Sports Club.“This year’s Emir Cup is definitely going to be a keenly contested tournament going by the anticipation from the The Army team, captained by Ahmed Khalil al Mohannadi, defeated Qatar Sports Club 3-0 last year to lift the prestigious trophy for the first time in the club’s history

clubs. All the ten teams are ready to give their best and we are looking forward to an exciting seven days of action. The association is ready and I believe this tournament will be the best ever,” QTTA President Khalil Ahmed al Mohannadi said. Last year’s winner was awarded a QR150,000 prize money as well as the golden trophy, while runner-up Qatar Sports were QR100,000 richer for their efforts.

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