Ping pong players were out in full force in Dubai Wednesday, as the official World Table Tennis Day saw enthusiasts from across Dubai taking up their bats and joining in the fun.
After a great start to the activities on Friday, when more than 200 people participated in the World Table Tennis Day tournament at Al Wasl Club, the momentum continued Wednesday with the free-to-play tables in DIFC a hive of activity all day. Office workers took the chance to test their skills against their colleagues on the free-to-play tables in front of Caramel Restaurant while many looked on, before the more serious players got down to business in the Corporate Challenge in the DIFC Atrium at 6.30 p.m.
An ITTF (International Table Tennis Federation) initiative, supported by Dubai Sports Council, the UAE Table Tennis Association and Ping Pong Dubai, World Table Tennis Day is organized with the aim to raise awareness of table tennis as a universal, popular and inclusive activity. The ITTF’s aim is to introduce and promote the sport across the world, and encourage participation regardless of age, gender, culture and physical ability with a focus on participation and fun.
After a busy afternoon on the free-to-play tables in DIFC, the action moved to the Atrium in DIFC Wednesday night for the World Table Tennis Day Corporate Challenge. After some tough competition Mohammad Bannout, Altherenz Bautista and Ravish Tripathi took the gold, silver and bronze medals in the men’s division, while the women’s division was won by Gem Palomar, with Kristine Padre winning silver and Ann Sarol taking the bronze.
For those looking for more opportunities to hone their skills, free-to-play tables are also at Ripe Market in Zabeel Park every Friday until 21 April.
But the action doesn’t stop there, with some of the best players in the world heading to Dubai in just a few weeks’ time to compete in the Dubai Table Tennis Asian Cup. The lineup of competitors is superb and includes London 2012 gold medallist, Zhang Jike and defending Asian Cup champion and World No 3 Xu Xin.
Dawoud Al Hajri, President of the UAE Badminton and Table Tennis Association, commented: “It has been fantastic to see hundreds of people from across the UAE participating in World Table Tennis Day activities over the past week. This enthusiastic response is testament to the inclusive nature of the sport, which is fun to play whether you are picking up a ‘paddle’ for the first time or honing your techniques at a competitive level. We look forward to welcoming those who have discovered table tennis as a result of World Table Tennis Day to join us again at the end of April, when we welcome some of the world’s leading players to the Dubai Table Tennis Asian Cup.”
Wiktor Gniewek, founder of Dubai Table Tennis Academy and World Table Tennis Day Corporate Challenge organizer for Ping Pong Dubai said: “Interest in table tennis is growing all the time, every time we do a competition the numbers are increasing. We were very happy with the response to World Table Tennis Day, it shows that the potential to develop the sport here is huge. Table tennis really is a sport for all, regardless of age, physical ability and skill level and anyone can enjoy it.
Hosting the Asian Cup final in Dubai will be great, to see the best players in the world come and show their skills will be fantastic, and will definitely inspire more people to play.”
The Dubai Table Tennis Asian Cup is the last ranking tournament before the Rio 2016 Olympic Games, and will be fiercely contested.
The competition runs from 28-30 April in Zabeel Hall 1 in the Dubai World Trade Centre, and admission is free.
Visit #PingPongDubai on Facebook and Instagram for more information about table tennis initiatives and events in Dubai.
Copyright: Arab News © 2020 All rights reserved.