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Innovation Inspires Integration and Aspires Athlete Alliances
By: Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Editor

Khalil Al-Mohannadi has every right to be delighted  Photo By: Rémy Gros

10/03/2011        2011 Qatar Peace and Sport Cup (Click here to access this section)

Achievement, Synergy, Professionalism, Integrity, Respect, Excellence; the acronym is Aspire.

It is the name given to the state-of-the-art Sports Academy in Doha, Qatar, a leader in its field.

The motto is aspire today, inspire tomorrow.

On Monday 21st and Tuesday 22nd November 2011 both those goals will be achieved; the Aspire Academy for Sports Excellence will host the first ever Peace and Sport Cup.

It is an achievement of which Khalil Al-Mohannadi, ITTF Executive Vice President and President of the Qatar Table Tennis Association, can be most proud.

Not only is the competition a first for table tennis, it is a first for sport; a fact that has attracted the attention of the media in Qatar.

10 Countries to take part in Peace and Sport Cup
Doha: Ten nations have confirmed their participation for the Peace and Sport Table Tennis Cup, the first event of its kind for any sport, which aims at encouraging peaceful dialogue and good relations among nations.

The 10 countries invited for the tournament are DPR Korea, Korea Republic, Japan, China, Russia, the USA, India, Pakistan, Iran and hosts Qatar.

The two-day tournament will take place at Aspire Academy on November 21 and 22 and carries a prize money of $100,000.

The tournament is organised by the Qatar Tennis Table Association with the support of the Qatar Olympic Committee, under the leadership of International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF) and the guidance of Peace and Sport.

The event is seen as an unprecedented sports event that will end political tensions and unite nations.

Forty years after a week of table tennis exhibition matches helped restore relations between the United States and China, Ping Pong Diplomacy will be making a comeback at the tournament in Qatar.

Ping Pong diplomacy refers to the exchange of table tennis players between the United States and China in the 1970s. In 1971, amid escalating Cold War rhetoric, an American table tennis team went to China. The matches helped open China to the world and paved the way for a ground breaking visit from US President Richard Nixon the following year, when the countries established diplomatic channels.

ITTF President, Adham Sharara said that the tournament aims to build new friendship between different nations.

“The competition aims to promote world peace and Table Tennis is the first sport to actually have this kind of event. The event will see players compete over two days before an audience of key government officials and diplomats from 12 competing nations,” said Sharara.

“Players will compete in men’s and women’s singles, doubles and mixed doubles. In the doubles events, partnerships will be created with players from different nations symbolising the unifying objectives of the event,” said the Egyptian-born Canadian citizen, who has been President of ITTF since 1999.

“The Peace and Sport Table Tennis Cup will witness teams composed of exceptional duos that will make an indelible mark on our memories and turn these athletes into genuine ambassadors of global peace,” Sharara said.

“Sport goes far beyond competitions and games. Many historic and recent examples demonstrate that it acts as a major political lever that can serve as a mediator in the international diplomatic arena,” Joel Bouzou, President and Founder of Peace and Sport, said.

“This is the driving ambition of this tournament which I hope will allow us to reach a stage where we can bury the quarrels of the past, encourage dialogue between certain countries and more globally, promote mutual understanding and peace,” Bouzou said.



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