OTTC chairman confident of successful tournament

MUSCAT, March 12 – Oman Table Tennis Committee (OTTC) unveiled the details of the top ranking tournament, ITTF Challenge Plus, in a press conference held at the Sultan Qaboos Sports Complex late on Monday in presence of OTTC Chairman, Abdullah Mohammed Bamakhalef, Sajjad al Lawati, competitions director, Mohammed al Kalbani, secretary of OTTC and media representatives.
As many as 40 countries including Japan, India, South Korea, Sweden will take part in ITTF Challenge Plus in Muscat from March 20 to 24.
Bamakhalef said it is the biggest TT event ever to be organised in Oman with the participation of 40 countries.
The tournament with a total cash prize money of $65,000, will see around 260 participants from all the continents including players, coaches, referees and administrative staff.
The five days tournament will feature participation of players from 37 countries: Austria, Belarus, Belgium, France, Germany, India, Iran, Japan, Kazakhstan, Russia, Singapore, Slovakia, Thailand, Chinese Taipei, America, Brazil, Canada, Finland, Saudi Arabia, Nigeria, Qatar, Portugal, Romania, Slovenia, Uzbekistan, Egypt, Croatia, Italy, South Korea, Paraguay, Algeria, Sweden, Ecuador, Syria, United Kingdom, Switzerland and Oman.
“The top officials of ITTF will arrive to the Sultanate and attend the tournament namely Germany’s Thomas Weikert, ITTF President, Saud al Muhannadi, Asian and Arab chairman of federation, CEO of ITTF and other top dignitaries. ITTF President will talk to the media as part of his visit to Muscat on March 24,” Bamakhalef added.
The OTTC chief pointed out that the organising committee has reached to the final stages of the preparation as few days are left prior to the start of the tournament. “Around 10 tables will be set for the players at the indoor hall of Sultan Qaboos Sports Complex for the qualification stages. Then, it will change to different set up in the upcoming rounds. The OTTC is coordinating with three top hotels for accommodation,” he said.
The OTTC is working with different related government entities to ease the process of international players to arrive smoothly to Muscat in the coming days. Other logistics preparation is taken care by the different committees set by the OTTC including the accommodation and transport.
Sajjad al Lawati stated that the tournament will witness seven categories of competitions namely: singles (men and women), doubles (men, women and mixed), singles U-21 (men and women).
“Mohammed Dawlatli from Egypt has been appointed as tournament director while I will be the competitions manager,” Al Lawati added. The Egyptian is well known personnel in ITTF as he had managed and supervised many global tournaments.
“International umpire Peter Bahamoski from Czech Republic is the general referee of the tournament while Said Lansari from Algeria will assist him and Hashim al Salmi will be the second assistant to the general referee. As many as 17 referees from the Sultanate will officiate the competitions besides eight umpires from other countries,”
Al Lawati said.
The organising committee has dedicated special zone for media as many media representatives will be available from ITTF besides to other journalists who will attend with their respective teams to cover the tournament. Oman TV, Q TV, Japanese TV and official social media accounts of ITTF will do live streamlining of the tournament.