ITTF Pre­mium Ju­nior Cir­cuit in Oman to fea­ture 19 coun­tries

Muscat Daily - - SPORTS -

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

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