DOHA: A familiar face at the ITTF World Tour Platinum Qatar Open for more than a decade now, Dimitrij Ovtcharov felt that the Qatari capital posses excellent facilities and infrastructure to host another World Championships.
“I remember watching the 2004 World Team Championships as a kid. I hope the sport’s biggest event will return here in the future,” said the German, who is seeded 13 in the competition. “There are great venues, facilities, hospitality and organisation. The setup here is extremely good and the location of Doha is also perfect, as it’s not too far for the European and Asian players to reach.”
Doha, which has become one of the favourite destinations for international sports events, is hosting the tournament since 1994.
“This is my 13th or 14th appearance. I also had a preparation camp here for the 2008 Olympic Games. We really appreciate the whole professional setup in terms of venue, hospitality, food and training facilities,” added the 30-year-old, who will face Hong Kong’s No.7 seed Wong Chun Ting in the second round.
Ovtcharov alongside compatriot Timo Boll (5th as of March, 2019) remains Germany’s highest-ranked players in the world.
The German lauded the excellent facilities at the Ali bin Hamad Al Attiya Arena (Al Sadd).
“The stadium itself is probably the nicest one I’ve ever played in. Besides, there’re many tables even at the hotel along with a gym and spa area. We don’t even need to travel to the venue on the days we’re not competing,” said Ovtcharov.
Silver-medalist in the team event at the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing (CHN), the right-handed Ovtcharov equated the Qatar Open with singles World Championships.
“Look at the calibre of the players here. That makes the Qatar Open just as competitive as the Worlds. It’s a very strong event. It’s one of the best organised competitions on the ITTF World Tour,” said Ovtcharov.