ITTF providing full assistance to Chinese National Team training in Qatar
29 members of the Chinese National Table Tennis Team have been training at the Aspire Academy Arena in Doha, Qatar for the past week following the conclusion of the 2020 ITTF World Tour Platinum German Open in Magdeburg.
Due to the widespread outbreak of the Novel Coronavirus across China, the Chinese National Team has taken the decision to conduct its training camp in Qatar where its biggest stars are set to participate at the 2020 ITTF World Tour Platinum Qatar Open from 3-8 March.
The Qatar Table Tennis Association (QTTA) has helped to arrange a high-quality training environment for the Chinese team with just a single day's notice, after receiving confirmation from the Chinese team on its plans. This includes a 15-table set up, the best facilities for physical training, rehabilitation, medical equipment, meals and accommodation.
President of the Chinese Table Tennis Association (CTTA), Liu Guoliang has expressed his gratitude to QTTA President and ITTF Deputy President Khalil Al-Mohannadi as well as ITTF CEO Steve Dainton:
"We are very grateful for all the assistance provided to us during this time of difficulty. We didn't expect that they could prepare the venue, tables and facilities for us within such a short period of time. The tables that we are using for training are those that will be used at the Qatar Open. QTTA has even given us all two thousand balls that they had in storage for us to train. It might be a common situation in China but it's very heart-warming, especially during this particular period and we really appreciate all this help from our international friends," said CTTA President, Liu Guoliang.
Liu Guoliang also received invitations from ITTF President Thomas Weikert, representing Germany, as well as from the Austrian Table Tennis Association, Japan Table Tennis Association and many more, for the Chinese team to train at their respective training facilities. The Chinese team accepted QTTA's with the upcoming ITTF World Tour Platinum Qatar Open taking place in Doha and will remain in the country to bolster its preparations for the upcoming 2020 World Team Table Tennis Championships to be held in Busan, Korea Republic from 22-29 March.
Personally witnessing the Chinese team's training in Qatar, ITTF CEO Steve Dainton was impressed with QTTA's ability to arrange all the facilities and preparations for the Chinese team's arrival at short notice:
"Everybody worked hard to find a good solution for our friends in China when we knew that the situation had become very difficult. It wasn't easy in the short time we had, but we did it! It was an amazing job for them to do this in such a short time. It doesn't matter if it's China or any other country, when there's any big disaster or problem, we always try our best to help our brothers and sisters out," stated ITTF CEO, Steve Dainton.
After receiving requests from CTTA, the ITTF sent out a call for support last week to the global table tennis family in search for medical equipment and protective gear. The response was tremendous with many friends looking for masks and other medical supplies around the world to help China in the fight against the Novel Coronavirus.
Boasting a long and proud history of hosting ITTF events, the QTTA is gearing up for the 25th edition of the Qatar Open. Khalil Al-Mohannadi, QTTA President and ITTF Deputy President, is well-versed in the organisation and management of prestigious events and continues to work hard around the clock to ensure the Chinese team's arrival in Qatar pans out as smoothly as possible.
"When I heard about the Coronavirus in China, our worry was that the Chinese national team would not be able to play at the Qatar Open. For me it is not the Qatar Open and not the World Championships without China. We are all part of the ITTF family and we are doing this as friends for the whole table tennis family. I need to thank the government, the Aspire Academy, Aspetar and everyone else involved in the process. In just a few hours I got the answer that China could come to Doha. I think now we must do our best to provide a nice facility because these are really world-class players. I think everything is good and when I saw Liu Guoliang and the players today, I was happy that all is okay and everyone is happy to train in Qatar." – QTTA President and ITTF Deputy President, Khalil Al-Mohannadi
World and Olympic champion Ma Long expressed his gratitude to QTTA for its assistance and has happy memories of Qatar, a country in which he has proven most successful over the years:
"I won my first senior World Tour title here in Qatar and I have been crowned champion four times since, so there's a special connection with Doha. I pass on huge thanks to QTTA for providing us with such a good training environment. I will prepare well for the upcoming Qatar Open," added Ma Long.