(MENAFN- Muscat Daily) Oman table tennis was celebrating its best moments in its young history on Saturday with its paddlers winning the first-ever medal at an international tournament and the Oman Table Tennis Committee (OTTC) chief getting elected as vice-president of the Arab Table Tennis Union.
And to add to the achievements, was the prospect of a gold medal in the U12 category at the 16th Arab Cup TT Championship on Sunday, the concluding day of the six-day championships at the Sultan Qaboos Sports Complex.
On Friday, the duo of Haitham al Mandhri and Al Julunda al Kharusi brought cheers for the hosts as they clinched the bronze in the U21 category.
Mandhri and Kharusi got the better of their opponents from Djibouti 3-1 to secure bronze, the first-ever medal for Oman at any international level TT event.
Algeria's Islem Laid in action at the Arab Cup
Another medal was assured for the hosts as the U12 duo of Aiman al Shehi and Ahmed al Riyami stormed into the final. The pair faces Lebanon duo on Sunday with a silver assured.
Speaking to Muscat Daily on Saturday, a delighted Oman head coach Mohammed Atoum said, 'It is a big achievement for Oman. A real honour for team, Oman Table Tennis Committee (OTTC) and the sultanate as it is the first-ever medal at a top-level competition. The medal is a great motivator for all of us and it underscores the fact that we have the potential to develop good players in future.'
Atoum, who has been with the national team for only a year and a half said, 'We can now look positively towards building our team for future. The U12 duo of Aiman and Ahmed have assured of another medal and it is a commendable feat.
'I thank the OTTC and other supporters of the game and believe that we are on the right path,' said the Jordanian.
Meanwhile, Egyptian players dominated the age-group events. Among the title winners were Youssef Abdel Aziz, Mohammed Waleed Said, Amira Yousry, Reem Hisham and Sara Abdel Aziz. Qatar's Mohammed Abdel Wahab won the U21 singles title
Bamkhale f elected ATTU vice-president The OTTC chairman, Abdullah Bamkhalef, was unanimously elected as the ATTU vice-chairman for the Gulf region at the extraordinary general assembly (EGM) held on Friday under the chairmanship of ATTU chairman Khalil al Mohannadi.
Mohannadi was elected as the ATTU chief in March this year in Tunisia.
The EGM was attended by 14 of the 22 nations and the executive board lauded the efforts of the OTTC for hosting the Arab Cup. The board also announced that the next edition of Arab Cup will be held in Egypt in 2018 while a new championship – Arab Clubs' Championship will be held in Lebanon in November.
Bamkhalef thanked the members for extending their support to him and said, 'It is a big honour for me and Oman to be elected to such a responsible post. I will try my best to promote the game in Oman and the region.'
Curtains will come down on the championships that featured 180 players from 15 nations vying for top honours in five categories on Sunday. H E Sayyid Saud bin Hilal al Busaidi, the Minister of State and Governor of Muscat, will preside over the closing ceremony.
Besides Oman, the countries that took part were Qatar, Egypt, Lebanon, Iraq, the Comoros, Somalia, Mauritania, Djibouti, Sudan, Tunisia, Algeria, Morocco, Palestine and Yemen.
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