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WVTT Championships 2023 sees the favourites emerge as focus shifts to doubles competition

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Muscat: The second day of the World Veteran Table Tennis Championships Muscat 2023 at the Oman Convention and Exhibition Centre (OCEC) saw the highest ranked players begin their campaigns in singles, doubles and mixed doubles competition.

Several players made an impressive start to the championship by winning all three of their Group matches. Tay Kee (MAS), Manfred Nieswand (GER), Michael Stadtmüller (GER), Leonid Segal (UKR), Craig Campbell (AUS), Boguslaw Madej (POL), Jin Liang Yang (CHN), Peter Desouza (IND), Jayanta Bhalchandra Kulkarni (IND) and Hock Gee Tan (SIN) are among those still with a hundred per cent record.

Competition then shifted to Men’s and Women’s Doubles and Mixed Doubles with players ranging from 40 to 91 years of age proving that table tennis is a sport for all ages, and the competitive spark is very much alive at Muscat 2023.

Pawel Stopinski of Poland, competing in the 45+ age category, said, “Today we played in the Doubles competition. We were ready to play, and we want to win – everybody wants to win! This is the first time for us in Oman, it is a very nice country.”

Partner Wojciech Tebecio added, “I have played in championships all around the world, and the organisation here is very good.”

The pair triumphed 3-0 in both of their matches, firstly beating the pair of Vitho Neikha of India and Mazen Mazen of Palestine, and then over the Belgian duo of Kris Boogers and Jurgen Michielsen.

Mounir Bessah of Algeria said, “Oman is very welcoming. I like the people of Oman. Everyone is very happy here, with the hospitality and the venue. We have even met some friends who we hadn’t been able to see or play with in several years. I was ITTF Competition Manager before and organised the first international competition here seven years ago or so, and since then we have spoken about bringing a bigger tournament here – and here we are. The competition is very good, and fortunately we have good conditions for all of the players. We are very happy to compete here and see our friends again.”

Mounir and partner Mikael Andersson of Sweden did not fare so well, narrowly losing both of their ties. The Indian pair of Satyanarayana Kandula and Dr Manoj Songara claimed victory in Round 1 and Mohammad Naeini and Farzin Tavakolian of Iran emerged victorious in Round 2.

Mohammed al Jassasi, Board Member and Head of the Umpiring Committee, said that all the umpires are fully prepared to start officiating the World Veteran Table Tennis Championships Muscat 2023.

He commented, “This is a really great occasion for all the local referees to be part of this world-class event in Muscat. Moreover, it is a big step for the new umpires to gain valuable experience from this championship. There are about 85 Omani umpires and most of them are certified as international umpires. Prior to the event we had more than five workshops to help prepare them for this championship.”

Players will be able to enjoy a rest day with the opportunity to explore Muscat and enjoy Omani culture offered by the organising committee. Also on the agenda are tours of Nizwa and Wadi Shab.

The World Veteran Table Tennis Championships 2023 is organised by the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Youth, the Oman Table Tennis Association and the International Table Tennis Federation, with support from Oman Fiber Optic, STAG Sports, Omantel and Belltel.

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