Final preparations on to host Oman Open TT tournament

A file photo of players in action during an international TT event in Muscat

Preparations for the smooth success of the forthcoming Seamaster 2019 ITTF Challenge Plus Oman Open are in the final stages, according to Abdullah Bamkhalef, the Oman Table Tennis Committee (OTTC) chairman.

The international tournament featuring seven disciplines – men's and women's singles and doubles, mixed doubles, U21 men's and women's singles – will be played at the Sultan Qaboos Sports Complex (SQSC) from March 20-24. The tournament has a total prize-money of  S$65,000.

More than 165 players from 35 countries are expected to feature in the tournament.

The Challenge Plus is a six-leg series that began with the Portugal Open in Lisbon in February. Oman Open is the second stop. The other venues following Oman are Pyongyang, North Korea; Lagos, Nigeria; Asuncion, Paraguay; and Markham, Canada.

Bamkhalef said, “Our main aim is to put Oman on the  international table tennis map. We are working hard to make the tournament a grand success and preparations are in the final stages.”

“With more that 150 players from more than 30 countries, it also will give a boost to sports tourism in Oman,” he added.

Players from Austria, Belarus, Belgium, France, Germany, India, Iran, Japan, Kazakhstan, Russia, Singapore, Slovakia, Thailand, China, Taipei, US, Brazil, Canada, Finland, Saudi Arabia, Nigeria, Qatar, Portugal, Romania, Slovenia, Uzbekistan, Egypt, Croatia, Italy, South Korea, Paraguay,

Algeria, Sweden, Ecuador and Oman  have confirmed their entries.

Haitham al Mandhari and Muhannad al Balushi will represent the hosts at the event.

Mohamed El-Dawlatly from Egypt has been appointed as tournament director while Sajjad al Lawati will be the competitions’ manager. International umpire Petr Bohumsky from Czech Republic is the chief

referee while Said Lanasari from Algeria will assist him.Following the March tournament, Oman will also be the venue for the International Hopes (U12) Week in Salalah during the khareef season from August 1-8. It will feature top boys and girls from each continent and Oman as host will get an opportunity to field a boy and a girl in the camp.

The third major tournament will be part of the ITTF World Junior Circuit with Muscat hosting the ITTF Junior Circuit Premium Oman Junior & Cadet Open from October 24-28.

Oman is among the nine countries to have been picked by the world body to host the circuit, that aims to spot the best junior talent across the world. The circuit began in Manama, Bahrain in February with Muscat being the penultimate stop.

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