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Former Cold War Rivals Clinch Peace and Sport Women’s Doubles Title
By: Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Editor

Anna Tokhomirova (left) and Lily Zhang (right), the proud champions in Doha  Photo By: Ahmed Taha Nada

11/22/2011        2011 Qatar Peace and Sport Cup (Click here to access this section)

The combination of Russia’s Anna Tikhomirova and Lily Zhang from the United States of America, won the Women’s Doubles title at the 2011 Qatar Peace and Sport Cup, staged in the splendid surroundings of the Aspire Academy in Doha, on the evening of Tuesday 22nd November 2011.

Seeded no.2, they overcame the top seeded partnership formed by Kim Hye Song from the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea and Kim Kyung Ah from the Republic of Korea.

In a contest that went the full five games distance and kept the crowd engrossed, Anna Tikhomirova and Lily Zhang recovered from an opening game deficit to win 6-11, 11-8, 3-11, 11-3, 11-8.

At the semi-final stage they had overcome the combination of China’s Cao Zhen and Qatar’s Aia Mohamed (13-11, 10-12, 11-7, 11-8); whilst at the same stage, Kim Hye Song and Kim Kyung Ah had ended the aspirations of the partnership formed by Carole Grundisch of France and Japan’s Natsumi Miyake.

They won in five games (10-12, 11-6, 11-9, 12-14, 11-3).

No Problem
The two countries, with Russia once as part of the Soviet Union, endured the period of the Cold War during the second half of the 20th century but for Lily Zhang, it was something you read about in history books and divorced from reality.

“No problem at all”, smiled Lily Zhang. “We had fun playing together and felt very comfortable.”

Good Spirit
Success for the two former Cold War rivals but in the spirit of the tournament, the runners up were the winners; the winning factor was that the two Koreas, divided by the 38th parallel, had joined forced and had given their best.

Certainly for Hyun Jung Hwa, the coach on duty from the Republic of Korea it was a nostalgic time as she looked back to 1991 in Chiba, when a Unified Korea won the Women’s Team title at the World Championships.

“At that time it was something unbelievable, match after match the people of both countries were following us and at the time of the finals we felt that it was only one country supporting us”, reflected Hyun Jung Hwa. “From this event in Doha, I hope the impact can be something similar.”

Positive Response
A positive response and the response from India’s Poulomi Ghatak was also positive.

She partnered Sadia Falak Sher of Pakistan and had suffered defeat in the one quarter-final, when losing to China’s Cao Zhen and Ai Mohamed (11-6, 8-11, 11-6, 10-12, 14-12), was also positive.

“We played great together, we played in synchrony and it was a pleasure; it was for me a lifetime experience that I will never forget”, reflected Pouloumi Ghatak “It is a question of peace and love; all countries need to understand co-operation and we will live in a better world.”

An Example
It was a sentiment reflected by Joel Bouzou, the President and Founder of Peace and Sport.

“This tournament must be an example for the sport community; we hope to continue in this pathway hopefully in other countries as well and with other sports”, he said. “Sport brings people together and this was a great example.”

Proud of Event
A great example, the thoughts of Joël Bouzou were echoed by Wiilfried Lemke, the Special Advisor to the United Nations Secretary – General on Sport for Development and Peace.

“Next January I am visiting our headquarters in New York and will report to the Secretary-General, Ban Ki Moon”, he explained. “I am sure he will be proud of this event as an example for the world, specially the picture of the Koreans playing together.”

All Winners
Koreans together was a major feature, all gave their best; in the Women’s Doubles event the Koreans has to settle for second place but they were winner, as were all ten pairs.

In Doha co-operation and understanding reigned supreme.

Kim Kyung Ah (left) gives advice to Kim Hye Song (right) in the final

Photo by Ahmed Taha Nada

Visit: itTV for interviews from the 2011 Qatar Peace and Sport Cup.



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