Oman paddlers hope to gain good experience, says head coach Atoum
Oman national team’s head coach Mohammed Atoum hopes that the forthcoming 16th Arab Cup Table Tennis Championships, which will be held in Oman for the first time, will help the sultanate’s paddlers gain lot of experience and improve their match temperament.
The Arab Cup will be will be played at the Sultan Qaboos Sports Complex in Muscat from August 15-20.
Speaking to Muscat Daily after returning from a 14-day camp in Zhengding, China, the Jordanian said, “Expecting a podium finish from Oman players will be asking for too much.
“I have been with the team for only a year and a half and it is too early to expect such results at the Arab level.
“The standard of the Arab Cup is quite good and it will provide an opportunity for our players to gain good experience and also develop their match temperament in an international-level competition.”
Atoum said the China camp has given good exposure to the young boys with seven of the 15-member China team to be part of national squad for the Arab Cup.
“The Oman Table Tennis Committee, under Abdullah Bamkhalef, has emphasised development at grassroot level and this is why we picked most of the players who were below 15 years of age for our China trip,” said Atoum.
“In fact, our U12 and U15 teams for the Arab Cup will feature players from China camp. Besides those six, the U18 team will also have one member from the camp, Mishal al Shehi,” the coach added.
On Wednesday, Atoum announced the names of the 15-member Oman squad, which will compete in five categories – U12, U15, U18, U21 and senior – at the Arab Cup.
There will be only singles and doubles categories and team events have not been included in this championships.
The tournament draw will be held on August 14 at the SQSC.
While Oman does not have any girl member in the squad, few of the participating teams are expected to field girls in all the five categories.
15 countries confirmed
Meanwhile, Abdullah Bamkhalef, the chairman of the Oman Table Tennis Committee (OTTC), confirmed that a total of 15 countries will take part in the Arab Cup.
The OTTC is organising the championships in cooperation with the Doha-based Arab Table Tennis Union (ATTU).
Speaking ahead of the championships, Bamkhalef said, “ We are happy to announce that 15 of the 22 member nations have confirmed their
participation in the Arab Cup that Oman is hosting for the first time.”
The countries taking part are Qatar, Egypt, Lebanon, Iraq, Comoros, Somalia, Mauritania, Djibouti, Sudan, Tunisia, Algeria, Morocco, Palestine and Yemen, and hosts Oman.
A total of 22 countries from Africa and Asia are members of the ATTU.
Bamkhalef said preparations for the smooth conduct of the championships are going on at a good pace with the support of various stakeholders and “we are hopeful of a successful Arab Cup”.
Oman squad: Senior: Asad al Raisi, Khalil al Brashdi, Abdullah al Zaabi; U21: Haitham al Mandhri, Al Julunda al Kharusi, Nasser al Balushi; U18: Mishal al Shehi, Abdulmalik al Balushi, Abdulah al Balushi; U15: Mohammed al Balushi, Al Mundhir al Ghassani, Muad al Shehi; U12: Aiman al Shehi, Ahmed al Riyami, Omar al Ghassani.