DOHA: The recently-concluded ITTF World Tour Platinum Qatar Open was another feather in the cap for the Qatar Table Tennis Association (QTTA), who has been hosting the event since 1994.
QTTA’s success in hosting a top-tier event lies in their competency backed by a team of hardworking professionals.
“We’ve an excellent team led by President Khalil Ahmed Al Mohannadi. Under his leadership and supported by the Qatar Olympic Committee, we’ve been successful in hosting the competition for 22 years now,” QTTA Technical Secretary Ziad Mahmoud Abu Karaki told www.dohastadiumplusqatar.com.
Al Mohannadi, who is a ITTF and Asian Table Tennis Union Deputy President, also heads the Arab Table Tennis Federation.
Doha hosted it for the first time in 1994, and has since then featured on the ITTF World Tour’s schedule every year since 2005, and previously from 1997–99 and 2001-03, but QTTA received a shot in the arm in 2017 when ITTF included Qatar Open as one of the six World Tour Platinum Series event.
“It’s a great honour for us, but the credit goes to Mr Khalil for his vision and ideas to develop the sport in the region and world,” added Ziad, a ITTF-certified Level 2 coach.
The 54-year-old believed that QTTA’s positive approach has helped the sport become popular not only in the country, but also in the Arab region.
“The sport has become extremely popular in the schools. QTTA’s dedicated sub-junior, junior and senior leagues have had a positive impact on the kids and their parents,” he said.
In fact, ITTF has always praised QTTA’s efforts to promote the sport in the country. Besides, QTTA is one of the most active federations in the region.
Players like Ahmed Khalil Al Mohannadi, Mohammed Abdulwahab, Abdulrahman Al Najjar have given the Qatari sport some ray of hope.
The Qatari men won the senior Arab Championships in 2016 while Qatar Sports Club emerged champions followed by Al Sadd in the 2017 Arab Club Championships.
“Our players are one of the best in the region. They’ve had a couple of good wins in the past in the Arab competitions. Qatar Open has given the Qatari players good exposures and opportunity to play against some of the world’s best players,” said Ziad, who was the Chairman Technical Committee of 2019 Qatar Open.