16 Dec 2016

Currently present in Nepal, conducting an Olympic Solidarity supported Developing a National Sports Structure course; organized under the auspices of the ITTF Development Programme, on Tuesday 13th December Pakistan’s Arif Khan, the course conductor confronted a very special adversary.

A player of note, a top one hundred World ranking in his prime, Arif Khan visited the residence of the highest office in the land where he played His Excellency Puspa Kamal Dahal Prachanda, the Prime Minister of Nepal.

by Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Editor

The match was made possible thanks to the efforts of Sudil Shahi, President of the Lalitpur Table Tennis Association; notably, the Honorable Prime Minister practices with Sudil Shahi on a regular basis in order to keep himself fit.

It was the second time that Arif Khan had met the Prime Minister; earlier they met on Saturday 19th November; Sudil Shahi having explained the reasons for Arif Khan’s visit to Nepal.

Arif Khan was able to explain the efforts made by the International Table Tennis Federation to promote the sport, explaining the humanitarian tasks undertaken and highlighting previous visits, Nepal having been the focal point for World Table Tennis Day.

Additionally, Arif Khan explained that table tennis is the fastest ball game in the world and is also the most mind challenging in the world. He stressed that the International Table Tennis Federation is making notable progress, having more members than any other international federation.

His Excellency explained that for the last nine years he had been playing table tennis and he appreciated the efforts made to feature Nepal on World Table Tennis Day. However, the most important part of the meeting was to set a day to actually play table tennis.

The date and time was duly agreed, at the Prime Minister’s residence on Tuesday 13th December.

“I arrived at his residence where the table was laid in an open area under a shade in beautiful surroundings, we met and soon after the welcome greetings we started to play, we played nonstop for 40 minutes; after finishing playing I presented the Prime Minister with rackets, balls and an ITTF World Table Tennis Day Shirt plus a training suit on behalf of the Nepal Table Tennis Association”, Arif Khan

Playing concluded, Arif Khan advised the Prime Minister that the International Table Tennis Federation had won an award at the 2016 Sports and Peace Award annual dinner, one of the major reasons being the focus on Nepal for World Table Tennis Day.

Immediately congratulations were offered, with the Prime Minister expressing the view that he hoped the good work will continue; all departed motivated by the occasion with Merry Christmas and Happy New Year being the parting words.

The Developing a National Sports Structure course commenced on Thursday 20th October and will conclude on Monday 19th December.

His Excellency Puspa Kamal Dahal Prachanda, the Prime Minister of Nepal (left) with Arif Khan (Photo: courtesy of Arif Khan)
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