Friends, Cao Zhen full of smiles hugs Zhang Chao after their Mixed Doubles success in Rotterdam
Photo By: Rémy Gros
2011 Qatar Peace and Sport Cup (Click here to access this section)
Co-operation and understanding are two underlying principles for the first ever Qatar Peace and Sport Cup, to be staged in Doha on Monday 21st and Sunday 22nd November 2011.
Two players from different countries form a team.
Moreover from countries that have unfortunately a history where co-operation and understanding has not always been at the top of the agenda.
In table tennis co-operation and understanding is vital, especially when the event in question is doubles.
Notably the two players named by China have proved themselves beyond all doubt to be world class experts in doubles, world class experts where co-operation and understanding in required.
Chen Qi and Cao Zhen are the selections, their records in the art of doubles is quite outstanding; both have more than one world doubles title to their credit.
Cao Zhen, 24 years old, with a variety of partners has won five Womenís Doubles titles on the ITTF Pro Tour but it is in the art of Mixed Doubles that she has excelled.
In 2009 at the H.I.S. World Championships in Yokohama, she won the Mixed Doubles title with Li Ping; then two years later in Rotterdam at the GAC GROUP 2011 World Championships, she enjoyed success with Zhang Chao.
She proved herself a fine doubles player and that fact was recognised by Zhang Chao. ďIf you had a choice of Mixed Doubles partner, you would choose herĒ, he said. ďYou would choose Cao Zhen.Ē
A good choice and so is 27 year old Chen Qi.
Incredible Haul of Title
He has won 18 Menís Doubles titles on the ITTF Pro Tour, three at the annual ITTF Pro Tour Grand Finals; in addition, he won the Menís Doubles title at the Liebherr World Championships in Zagreb in 2007 with Ma Lin and then two years later in Yokohama with Wang Hao.
It is with Ma Lin that he struck one of the most successful Menís Doubles partnerships of all time; when they won in Zagreb in 2007 it meant they held both Olympic and World titles.
In August 2004, in the Galatsi Stadium at the Olympic Games, they were crowned Olympic champions; it was the last time the Menís Doubles event was held in the table tennis competition at an Olympic Games.
Four years later in Beijing, the team event replaced the doubles; in the Olympic team format, the third match is doubles.
It could prove vital. Notably Chen Qi was named as the reserve for the China team.
Certainly, he is outstanding in singles, earlier this year in January he won the Menís Singles event at the English Open but had he been needed in 2004 at the Peking University Gymnasium, he would have been the ideal doubles partner for Wang Liqin, Wang Hao or Ma Lin!
Doubles is co-operation and understanding; Chen Qi and Cao Zhen excel in the art, with whoever they play they create harmony, the aim of the Qatar Peace and Sport Cup.
Men: Chen Qi (China), Ri Chol Guk (DPR Korea), Ryu Seung Min (Korea Republic), Soumyadeep Roy (India), Adrien Mattenet (France), Kaii Yoshida (Japan), Syed Awais Hassan (Pakistan), Ahmed Al-Mohannadi (Qatar), Grigory Vlassov (Russia), Fan Yiyong (U.S.A.)
Women: Cao Zhen (China), Kim Hye Song (DPR Korea), Kim Kyung Ah (Korea Republic), Poulomi Ghatak (India), Carole Grundisch (France), Natsumi Miyake (Japan), Sadia Flak Sher (Pakistan), Maha Faramarzi (Qatar), Anna Tikhomirova (Russia), Lily Zhang (U.S.A.)
Chen Qi was in total harmony with himself at the English Open in January
Photos by tabletennisphotos.com