by Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Editor
At the final hurdle he overcame Romania’s Alexandru Cazacu (11-4, 11-5, 11-8, 11-8), having in the round of the last eight beaten Vitali Nekhviadovich of Belarus (11-6, 11-6, 11-5, 11-9) prior to reserving his place in the title deciding contest courtesy of success against Saudi Arabia’s Al Alkhadrawi (11-8, 11-7, 11-7, 11-9).
In the opposite half of the draw, in the later stages Alexandru Cazacu also ended the hopes of Saudi Arabia; he beat Abulaziz Bu Shulaybi (13-15, 11-7, 11-5, 10-12, 8-11, 11-6, 11-5) and Abdulaziz Al-Abbad (11-6, 11-2, 11-5, 14-12) to reserve his place at the top table.
Third place finished in the hands of Abdulaziz Al-Abbad; in the play-off contest he accounted for Al Alkhadrawi (11-4, 11-7, 11-4, 7-11, 11-8).
Impressively, Kou Lei collected US$ 7,000 for his efforts, the reward for Alexandru Cazacu was US$ 5,000; Abdulaziz Al-Abbad received US$ 3,000 with Al Alkhadrawi securing US$ 1,500. Furthermore, the losing quarter-finalists each received US$ 1,000; the third round losers each secured US$ 500 each with those departing in round two leaving Oman US 200 the richer.
“It was my pleasure to participate in this well organized tournament, the competition and practice hall were perfect, the flooring and tables as well, I will be back next year.” Kou Lei
A total 91 players drawn into 30 groups in the initial stage of proceedings, players finishing in first and second positions advancing to the main draw, the tournament was directed by Egypt’s Adham Ashour and Mohamed Bassyouni; the former the Competition Manager, the latter the Referee; the November 2017 World Ranking determined the seeding.
Overall, 18 umpires officiated, the majority being from Oman but one official made the journey from Iran and one from India.
Most notably the tournament was broadcast on the Oman Sports Channel, the 16 tables and one show court providing a splendid setting. Also, there were six tables in the training hall with water, juice and fruit in plentiful supply.
“Our target was to promote table tennis in Oman and to give a chance to players who have not reached a standard to represent their countries, the tournament was successful every respect, everybody was satisfied. We were surprised that many world ranked and very good players participated. I would like to thank our local partners, Oman Fiber Optic the main sponsor, the Oliban Company and Omantel for supporting us and helping to take table tennis in Oman to another level. Also we are grateful to the Stag company for providing the equipment.” Sajjad Al-Lawati, Oman Table Tennis Federation Board Member
A welcome visitor to the tournament was Dider Leroy ITTF Competition Manager; he held a meeting with Abdullah Ba Mukhalef Chair of the man of Oman Table Tennis Federation, to discuss the arrangements for the forthcoming ITTF World Junior Circuit Premium tournament to be staged next February in Oman.
A total of 18 national associations were represented at the ; additional to Oman, players travelled from Bahrain, Belarus, Denmark, Egypt, India, Iraq , Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Nigeria, Pakistan, Philippines, Poland, ,Romania, Saudi Arabia, Syria and Ukraine.
2017 Oman Fiber Optic International Open: Men’s Singles – Stage One (Thursday 7th & Friday 8th December)
2017 Oman Fiber Optic International Open: Men’s Singles – Main Draw (Saturday 9th & Sunday 10th December)