By Mudassir Raja
Qatar is fast becoming a hub of sports activities as the government promotes and supports all sorts of physical activities and encourages the expatriate communities to take part in different events.
Qatar Table Tennis Association (QTTA), in collaboration with Indian Sports Centre (ISC), recently organised a two-day long Inter Community Table Tennis Tournament at Qatar Table Tennis Training Centre.
Philippines bagged Doha Bank Challengers Trophy, overall champions, in the second tournament of its kind and India remained the runners-up.
As many as 200 players and teams from 15 different countries participated in the tournament. The participating countries, included Qatar, India, Pakistan, Nepal, Egypt, Indonesia, Lebanon, Philippines, Bangladesh, Ghana, Syria, Malaysia, Tunisia, Iraq, and Sri Lanka. The players and teams, both males and females, were divided into different age categories.
Different countries exhibited extra-ordinary performance in both team and individual competitions and won laurels for their communities. In the team championship for U-18 boys, Iraq bagged the winner title which was followed by Qatar as the runners- up. In the team championship for men category, between 18 to 40 year, Lebanon won the title and Pakistan was the runners-up. In the team championship for men, above 40 year, Egypt won the winning title, which was followed by the Philippines with second position. In the team championship for women category, above 18 year, the Philippines got the first position and India was the runners-up.
Besides the team competitions, individual players also played in the categories of men, women, boys, and girls of different age groups. In U-18 boys category Karim Yasser from Qatar bagged first position while, Abdul Wahab from Iraq was the runners-up. In the U-18 girls, Mithila Sunil of India won the title and Hrithika also from India bagged the runners-up position. In the men’s singles for the category of age 18 to 40 year, Rock El Hakim of Lebanon got first position and Awais Ahmed of Pakistan got the second position. In the men category, above 40, Saad Omar of Iraq was the winner and Hisham Noor of Egypt remained the runners-up. In the women category, above 18, Anna Criselle form the Philippines bagged the winning title and Cecela Tan of Indonesia remained the runners-up.
The tournament was opened with a spectacular show of march past. All players of the participating countries marched with their national flags.
The organisers also released colourful balloons in the sky. Many notable personalities attended the event, including Kim Chang-Mo, Ambassador of the Republic of Korea; Ali Sultan al–Muftah, General Secretary of QTTA; and C K Krishnan of Doha Bank, along with ISC representatives and different community leaders. Artistes from Indian and Korean communities also presented group dances. A yoga expert from the Embassy of India presented an artistic yoga demonstration.
Speaking on the inaugural ceremony, Nilangshu Dey, ISC President, said, “I extend my gratitude to QTTA for providing the opportunity and organising the tournament for all expatriate communities. I assure you that we will continue to organise such tournaments in future to promote table tennis among all expatriates living in Qatar. This is the second edition of the tournament. The number of players in the first edition were 180. The numbers have increased and we hope for more and more players from all expatriate communities to take part in the nest tournaments.”
Ali Sultan al-Muftah said, “I am very happy to see the players from different communities in Qatar taking part in the tournament. From the players of different age groups and different countries, we may be able to find future table tennis players to play for Qatar national team. We will try to make this a yearly tournament. I appreciate ISC for initiating the idea of community table tennis tournament.”
He added, “Qatar Open Table Tennis Championship will be held in March next year. I urge all the expatriates to attend the tournament. The expatriate players also need to become a part of Qatar Veteran Committee and attend the upcoming international event.”
The prize distribution ceremony was attended by P Kumaran, Ambassador of India, besides the QTTA General Secretary and the representatives of ISC.
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