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    China Withdraw From The WTT Middle East Hub

    In a blow to the first official World Table Tennis events the Chinese National Team has announced it will be withdrawing completely from the Middle East Hub. This announcement comes after the Hong Kong table tennis team withdrew from the Middle East Hub earlier this month. Hong Kong Head coach Chan Kong-wah said he was not prepared to take a risk with the Tokyo 2020 Olympics on the horizon, claiming that the coronavirus measures in place at the Lusail Sports Arena did not meet the standards of the Hong Kong Sports Institute.


    Xu Xin at the WTT Macao event last year - Photo via ITTF Flickr

    A statement was released by the Chinese Table Tennis Association (CTTA) who have taken the decision to miss the event due to concerns relating to COVID-19.

    The secretary-general of the CTTA, Qin Zhijian stated, “The association and the coaching staff combine the possible epidemic risks during travel abroad, no suitable flights for the return journey, and 21-28 days of isolation without training after returning home. Full consideration of the period and other circumstances, we believe that this will greatly affect the training of athletes and the arrangements for the subsequent National Games preliminaries. We have also fully listened to the opinions of various units and participating athletes, and agreed that staying in the domestic training at this stage is a better choice."

    Additionally, Qin added that they will not be sending players outside of China in the build up to the Tokyo Olympics citing domestic and international events in China that will be used for preparation.

    “We have updated our plan strategically. We will use the time between the original Qatar competition and the isolation period when we return to China, and fully consider the opinions of various provinces, cities, units and athletes, and strive to reach April 4 by the end of March. Choose the right time at the beginning of the month to actively and securely complete the National Games qualifiers. This is also the key to the successful completion of the important tasks of the National Games in all provinces and cities. In addition, the National Table Tennis will also use the time to organize training in a targeted manner, To prepare for the next WTT China Tournament scheduled to be held in China."

    Stephen Duckitt, Event and Strategy Director responded by saying "Team China's withdrawal from the Middle East Hub is disappointing.”

    He continued, "Despite the continuing challenge of the COVID-19 pandemic, we are ready to deliver the first official WTT events in Doha and we will continue to work closely with the Qatar Table Tennis Association and local authorities to ensure the safety of everyone involved.”

    Players have been seen taking extra precautions on their way to Qatar with the Chinese Taipei team opting to don full PPE whilst travelling.



    This is a disappointing but understandable start to the WTT Middle East Hub. However, the two WTT events including a Contender followed by a Star Contender event will still be taking place so there is plenty of action still to look forward to. With some of the top seeds now missing from the tournament, who can take advantage and claim victory in the first ever Contender and Star Contender tournaments? The seeds have been updated below with Harimoto and Mima Ito entering as the number 1 seeds:

    Men's Singles

    01) Tomokazu Harimoto
    02) Hugo Calderano
    03) Lin Yun-Ju
    04) Mattias Falck
    05) Dimitrij Ovtcharov
    06) Liam Pitchford
    07) Simon Gauzy
    08) Quadri Aruna
    09) Lee Sangsu
    10) Robert Gardos
    11) Marcos Freitas
    12) Chuang Chih Yuan
    13) Kristian Karlsson
    14) Jonathan Groth
    15) Darko Jorgic
    16) Kamal Sharath Achanta

    Women's Singles

    01) Mima Ito
    02) Cheng I-Ching
    03) Kasumi Ishikawa
    04) Miu Hirano
    05) Feng Tianwei
    06) Adriana Diaz
    07) Hyowon Suh
    08) Ying Han
    09) Chen Szu-Yu
    10) Bernadette Szocs
    11) Britt Eerland
    12) Hina Hayata
    13) Lily Zhang
    14) Margaryta Pesotska
    15) Elizabeta Samara
    16) Dina Meshree


    Follow all the action on TableTennisDaily here.

    Source: Xinhua
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