MUSCAT, JAN 30 – As many as 19 countries including table tennis giants China will take part in Oman Junior and Cadet Open — ITTF Premium Championship in Muscat from February 7 to 11. Announcing the details at the Sultan Qaboos Sports Complex, Oman Table Tennis Committee (OTTC) Chairman Abdullah Mohammed Bamakhalef said it is indeed a proud moment for Oman. “This will be the biggest TT event ever to be organised in Oman with the participation of 19 countries. Stalwarts of the game like China, Scotland, Greece, Sweden and India are all coming to Muscat.”
The ranking tournament of the International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF) will see around 114 junior players from all the continents, nearly 50 coaches and same number of administrative staff arrive in Muscat.
The tournament with a total prize money of $8,000, will feature 19 countries: China, India, Egypt, the Czech Republic, Greece, Pakistan, Indonesia, Iran, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Sweden, Lebanon, Scotland, Syria, Thailand, Yemen, the Philippines and the Sultanate.
Oman had hosted Arab TT in August and then Oman Fibre Open international tournament in December. The Sultanate was awarded the ITTF junior tournament after the success in hosting these tournaments.
Didier Leroy, ITTF Competitions Manager, had told Oman Daily Observer that the Sultanate is in strong contention to host one of the legs of the World Tour senior circuit championship.
“We hope to land the senior circuit in the Sultanate soon. It will be a mega occasion with the top players of the world in action in the country,” Bamakhalef said.
The Junior ITTF tournament will be officiated by 22 umpires. This will include 16 umpires from Oman, three from Czech Republic, two from Egypt and one from India. ITTF competitions manager for the event will be Muneer Basha from Algeria and Egyptian Mohammed Bassiouni will head the umpires panel.
The draw for the tournament will be conducted on February 6.
The opening ceremony on February 7 will be held under the patronage of Kamel bin Fahd al Said, Assistant Secretary-General of the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister for Cabinet Affairs, while the closing ceremony will be presided over by Shaikh Saad bin Mohammed al Saadi, Minister of Sports Affairs on February 11.
Sajjad bin Mohammed al Lawati, Vice-Chairman of the Organising Committee, said all arrangements are in place for the visiting teams and support staff.
“The hotels and accommodation facilities are all ready for the visiting teams and support staff.”
“For the players we have eight TT tables for the matches and same for practice sessions.”
Events will be held in 10 categories for the tournament.
Oman coach Mohammed Atoum said Omani players are good shape for the tournament. “The players of the national team for the various categories are currently undergoing a training camp that started at the beginning of the first week of January at the Sultan Qaboos Sports Complex with the participation of 13 players,” said the Jordanian coach.
The OTTC also signed a new partnership with Sabco Sports, a sports marketing company, to create a partnership for the development of TT in Oman. Nasser al Rashidi, Marketing Manager and Navin Chand, Director of Commercial Department, represented Sabco at the function.
Under-12: Muaid al Mutawa, Mohammed al Mutawa, Ahmed al Riyami, Omar al Ghassani and Ayman al Shehi; Under-14: Al Munther al Ghassani, Maaz al Shehi, Issa al Riyami, Abdul Rahman al Zaabi and Hussein Ali; Under-17: Moadh al Shehi, Mohammed al Balushi and Abdullah al Balushi.
Head coach: Mohammed Amin Atoum, Assistant coaches: Asad al Raisi, Abdullah al Hajri, Ahmed Helmy, Ismael al Suleimani, Mohannad al Balushi, Said al Kharousi