(MENAFN- Muscat Daily) The young Omani pair of Aiman al Shehi and Ahmed al Rawahi's silver-medal finish in the U12 boys' doubles category put the finishing touch on the concluding day of the 16th Arab Cup Table Tennis Championships at the Sultan Qaboos Sports Complex on Sunday.
The silver was preceded by a bronze, won by Haitham al Mandhri and Al Julunda al Kharusi on Friday, to wrap up a memorable event for the hosts.
The Arab Cup was organised by the Oman Table Tennis Committee (OTTC) for the first time under the auspices of the Arab Table Tennis Union and witnessed more than 100 players from 15 countries.
Oman's Aiman al Shehi (top left) and Ahmed al Rawahi in action during the final of U12 boys' doubles on Sunday
In the U12 summit clash, the Iraqi pair of Ali Hakmat and Abbas Jabbar beat Aiman and Ahmed 3-1 for gold. Despite the loss in the final, Oman coach Mohammed Atoum said, 'I am proud of the boys and the team's overall performance at the event.
'A silver for Aiman and Ahmed and the bronze picked by Haitham and Al Julunda has lifted the morale of Omani paddlers and also send signals that Oman players have the potential to do well at international level.'
Egypt's Ahmed Ali, men's gold medallist
Egypt paddlers reign supreme
Egyptian paddlers dominated the championships that featured men and women in five categories - U12, U15, U18, U21 and senior.
In the blue-riband men's senior category it was a clash among two Egyptians – Ahmed Ali and Mohammed Ali Bili with the former emerging victor with a 4-2 verdict in the final.
Farah Hassan of Egypt was the women's singles winner defeating her compatriot Yusra Ashraf.
Algeria's Sami Kharouf and Issa Belkasi claimed the men's doubles title to halt the Egyptian juggernaut.
The women's doubles top honours also went to Egypt's Yusra Ashraf and Farah Hassan while Algeria's Katie Kasassi and Islem Laid took the silver.
There was no stopping the Egyptians as Hana Aiman Hussain and Roah Salah Ahmed clinched the U12 girls doubles crown while the U12 boys' and girls' singles titles were also captured by Mohammed Salahudin and Hana Aiman Hussain respectively.
Later the chief guest, H E Sayyid Saud bin Hilal al Busaidi, Minister of State and Governor of Muscat, gave away the prizes in the presence of H E Rashad al Hinai, Undersecretary at the Ministry of Sports Affairs. Also present were Khalil al Mohannadi, the ATTU chairman and Abdullah Bamkhalef, the OTTC chief.
Speaking after the event, Mohannadi praised the successful hosting of the championships in Oman.
'It is the best Arab championships organised in the past three decades and I thank the OTTC chief and the Ministry of Sports Affairs for their warm hospitality and efficient organisation,' said the Qatari official.
Bamkhalef said that the 'hosting of the Arab Cup marks a turning point in the history of table tennis in Oman' and hoped that the sport will become more popular with the youngsters in the country.
In his remarks to Muscat Daily, Bamkhalef said, 'Our boys won a silver and a bronze in this high-level competition. It is a testimony to the talent in the sultanate and highlights our successful planning to prepare our players for the Arab Cup including our camp in China.
'I am sure that we are moving in the right direction and we will be soon expanding our activities in schools. The OTTC is committed to developing the sport across the sultanate and hopefully we can have build a larger pool of players to spot the talented players.'
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