ITTF Premium Junior Circuit in Oman to feature 19 countries
The Oman Table Tennis Committee (OTTC) declared its readyness to host its biggest ever event in the sultanate – 2018 ITTF Premium Junior Circuit - Oman Junior and Cadet Open – at the Sultan Qaboos Sports Complex (SQSC) from February 7-11.
Speaking at a press conference at the SQSC on Tuesday, Abdullah Bamkhalef, the OTTC chief, said, “We are proud to host an International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF) event that features 19 countries and more than 100 paddlers. It is the biggest ever tournament in the young Oman table tennis history. To be awarded the first of the seven legs of the 2018 premium junior circuit is an endorsement of our efforts in promoting the game.”
In December, the OTTC hosted an open tournament – Oman Fiber Optic International while in August last year, Muscat played host to the 16th Arab Cup that witnessed the participation of 14 nations.
The OTTC confirmed on Tuesday that a total of 109 players including 33 girls from 19 countries have registered in three events – junior (U17), cadet (U14) and hopes (U12) and in ten disciplines. The events to be held are junior boys and girls sin- gles and junior boys and girls team, cadet boys and girls singles and team events along with boys and girls singles in hopes category.
According to Bamkhalef, the total prize-money for the event is US$8,000 with the junior singles winner in both categories taking home US$900 while the runner-up will get US$500. All the semifinalists will also be awarded cash prizes. The junior team winner will get US$400 while the cadet singles winner in both categories will get US$300, the same as the cadet team winner.
Sajad al Lawati, the tournament director, said, “China and India have registered the biggest squad with 16 and 15 paddlers each while Oman will field a team of 13. Egypt, Qatar and Sweden are sending a team of nine each while there are players from Czech Republic, Greece, Pakistan, Indonesia, Iran, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Lebanon, Scotland, Syria, Thailand, Philippines and Yemen.”
Bamkhalef said that the opening ceremony will be held under the auspices of H H Sayyid Kamil bin Fahd al Said while H E Sheikh Saad al Saadi, the Minister of Sports Affairs, will give away the awards on the final day.
The OTTC also signed a deal with Sabco Sports to market the tournament.
Abdullah Bamkhalef (second from left) addresses a press meet at the SQSC on Tuesday
Oman’s U17 player Mohammed al Balushi