by Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Editor
Notably, players from throughout the Arab World, the Middle East and the Gulf States are set to compete; entries from Egypt, Iran, Iraq, Palestine, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates have enrolled.
Additionally there is a large entry from India and Chinese Taipei; furthermore, Canada’s Benita Zhou and Panama’s Jacobo Vahnish are also listed.
Most notably, there is a prominent contingent from the Ångby Table Tennis Club in Sweden, led by Nils Sandberg. He is the father figure, the heart and soul of the club he founded; he raises funds from private sources to give young people opportunity after opportunity. Pertinently, he has supported the ITTF World Junior Circuit since inception in 2003, travelling far and wide, in particular supporting countries that need foreign teams to visit, to help the sport of table tennis progress.
“In the last week of July we see a very good example of what table tennis can do and other sports cannot do. If we have in mind all the struggles in the Middle East, religion and politics but countries travelling to the area; it is a pleasure to see friendship through sport, read table tennis.” Nils Sandberg
The effect is that no less than five of the six continents – Africa, Asia, Europe, North America, Latin America – are present in Jordan.
It is entry sums up the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, a country that under the leadership of Abdullah II has shown the hand of humanity to war-torn neighbouring Syria.
In the north of the country near the Syrian border there are several refugee camps; it is in such situations that table tennis can play an important part. Already the ITTF Development Programme has been active in this respect and will be active in the near future.
Co-operation with Jordan is now well advanced in the form of a refugee project in one of the refugee camps in co-operation with Peace and Sport and the Japanese Table Tennis Association.
Furthermore for Nils Sandberg there is a special reason to visit Jordan; the late King Hussein who died in February 1999, from 1963, he was the Honorary President of the Ängby Sports Club.