In an effort to provide quality competition and exposure at the top level, Oman Table Tennis Association (OTTA) has decided to send a team of two paddlers – Asad al Raisi and Muhannad al Balushi – to the 2021 ITTF World Table Tennis Championship.
The world championship will be hosted in Houston, US, from November 23-29. The Omani duo will compete in the doubles category and the pair was given a wild card based on the performances at the 25th edition Asian Table Tennis Championship in Doha, Qatar, last month.
This is the third appearance of the Oman paddlers at the ITTF worlds after they made their debut in the 2017 world championships in Germany. Their second participation was in Hungary in 2019.
An intensive training plan has been drawn for Raisi and Balushi under the watchful eyes of the newly-appointed national coach Omid Shams Shahrbabaki from Iran, who replaced long-serving Mohammed Atoum of Jordan.
It may be mentioned that OTTA has been trying to put Oman on the world TT map and as part of their endeavour, the sultanate successfully hosted the 2021 WTT Youth Contender Muscat recently.
The event featured 100 participants representing 16 countries. OTTA’s efforts were lauded by the World Table Tennis (WTT). The international body thanked OTTA for the smooth conduct of the tournament despite the challenges posed by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
“2021 WTT Youth Contender Muscat delivered and showcased to the world OTTA’s ability to hold events and sets the bar for others to follow.
“It is an incredible and impressive accomplishment,” a WTT official commented.