MUSCAT - Oman table tennis has made a big impact in the Sultanate sports arena by hosting the Arab Table Tennis Championships for the first time.
With its state-of-the art facilities, Sultan Qaboos Sports Complex in Bausher has successfully staged the 16th edition of the championships, which showed a major increase in terms of participants. “It is a matter of pride for the Sultanate that we could successfully host a mega event like Arab Championships,” Abdullah Bamakhalef, Chairman of the Oman Table Tennis Committee (OTTC), told Oman Observer.
BamaKhalef was also unanimously elected as the vice-chairman for the Gulf region during the Arab Table Tennis Union’s Extraordinary General Assembly (EGM) in Muscat on Friday.
Reacting to his election, the OTTC chairman thanked the members for entrusting the responsibility on him. “It is great honour for me and Oman. I will do my best to promote the game in Oman and the region.
The EGM, presided over by ATTU chairman Khalil al Mohannadi, lauded the Sultanate TT body for its efforts to host the Arab championships.
The championship — held from August 15 to 20 — saw the participation of 15 Arab countries: Qatar, Egypt, Lebanon, Iraq, Comoros, Somalia, Mauritania, Djibouti, Sudan, Tunisia, Algeria, Morocco, Palestine, Yemen besides hosts Oman. More than 180 individuals including players, managing staff and referees attended the championship.
“The championships saw a record number of participation with 119 players and 80 officials.”
“We were able to attract the major international sponsors, Seamaster and DHS, along with our local sponsors to make the event a grand success,” Bamakhalef said.
Indian company STAG, who are in tie-up with the Oman team, has arranged the playing infrastructure including the mats, table tennis courts and other equipment.
In order to continue the momentum, the OTTC, has already chalked out plans to promote the game in the schools.
“We are having five centres at the governorates in tie-up with the local clubs to give training in table tennis. In Muscat, Saham, Buraimi and Ibra we are providing training for the young players. The clubs are provided the logistical support by the ITTC in this regard,” he said.
A tournament will be held in September-November for the school students in various governorates.
The under-12 championships, to be held in association with Ministry of Education, will have its finals staged in Muscat. The top two place winners will compete in the finals.
Another Open category tournament, also in tie-up with Ministry of Education, is planned for February-April next year.
The 17th Arab TT Championships will be held in Egypt in 2018. And a new championship, Arab Clubs’ Championship will be held in Lebanon in November.