After the latest success of Qatar’s national table tennis team at the recently concluded 26th Arab Table Tennis Championships in Cairo, Qatar’s national team and Aspire Academy coach, Peter Karlsson, envisions a bright future for the talented players, that could lead one of them a spot at the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo.
The team, comprising several Aspire Academy graduates together with athletes from the Qatar Table Tennis Federation won a total of four medals throughout the championships. The graduates include Mohamed Abdulwahab and Abdulrahman Al Naggar, and current student-athlete Abdulaziz Al Hajaji.
Some key players in the team demonstrated strong performances against the number one players of table tennis giants, Egypt and Bahrain in the teams and singles matches across various age groups, including the Under-21, Under-18 and Under-12.
With these results, coach Karlsson feels optimistic and sees a bright future awaiting the team in future tournaments.
I’m extremely satisfied with (the boys’) performance. They played really well. Having reached the semi-finals in the teams’ category and the finals in the singles category head-to-head against Egypt, a country well known for its rich history in table tennis competitions, was a great achievement in itself.’
Karlsson also said that the table tennis competition featured several categories, where the players faced Egypt. One of the team members, Mohammed Abdulwahab, managed to beat Egypt’s number one player when they faced the team in the group stages. When Qatar faced the team again in the finals, the other team member Al Naggar, who was returning from injury, also came out victorious against Egypt’s top player. However, Egypt managed a narrow win over Qatar in a closely contested match.
Before the match with Egypt, Al Naggar and Abdulwahab, two of Qatar’s most promising table tennis athletes, each won their matches against Bahrain’s top table tennis player, regarded as the number one player in the Arab region for his age group and winner of the recent Asia’s Under-21 table tennis championship, a few weeks prior to this competition. In the Singles category, Al Naggar faced the star Bahraini player again in the semi-finals but lost 3-1. The latter went on to win the Singles category.
Karlsson said that looking ahead to future competitions, Aspire Academy, in collaboration with the Qatar Table Tennis Federation, plan to have its table tennis athletes take part in two more major events by the end of 2018 and around nine international and regional tournaments in 2019.
Come 2020, the hope is that our players will have had adequate exposure and gained good experience to help them secure a spot in the West Asian qualification for the Olympics.’
The Championship in Cairo featured around 386 players competing in the Under-21, Under-18, Under-15 and Under-12 age groups competitions. The list of players comprised some of the best young Arab table tennis players representing 13 countries from the region: Egypt, Bahrain, Oman, Iraq, Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, Libya, Yemen, Palestine, Sudan, and Lebanon.
Aspire Academy’s Table Tennis programme is one of the strongest youth development programmes in the Arab World. Aspire Academy works closely with the Qatar Table Tennis Federation to provide a comprehensive structure, training schedule and planned local and international competition exposure for its student-athletes to help them reach an elite status in various local, regional and international tournaments.
For updates and more information about Aspire Academy, visit their website through this link.