by Simon Daish
Players travelled from all over the globe to compete at the tournament as spectators in Astana witnessed four incredible days of action from some of the world’s best-known table tennis stars.
While countries such as China, Japan and Germany may currently be the leaders of the professional game, Kassym-Jomart Tokayev president of the Table Tennis Federation of the Republic of Kazakhstan is delighted to see his country embracing the sport of table tennis and believes that exposure to the international scene will ultimately benefit Kazakhstan’s athletes.
“Table tennis is one of the most popular and accessible sports [worldwide]. About 150,000 practice table tennis in Kazakhstan. The number of professional players exceeds 5,000 athletes, who are trained by more than 200 coaches. Unfortunately, we could not beat the world leaders of this interesting and challenging sport representing China or Japan. But our athletes had the opportunity to test [themselves] and earn invaluable experience, consistently becoming stronger.” Kassym-Jomart Tokayev.
Rising talent Kirill Gerassimenko represented the host nation in the Men’s Singles draw, putting up a brave fight against Japan’s Tomokazu Harimoto in the opening round.
The Seamaster 2018 ITTF World Tour Grand Finals was the first major table tennis competition to be held in Kazakhstan and Kassym-Jomart Tokayev showered praise on the country’s table tennis federation for successfully bringing one of the sport’s biggest events to Astana.
“Holding such a tournament is a big success for our table tennis federation. Kazakhstan is recognised as a sports power in the world that can be proud of its athletes and the experience of hosting major international competitions. Over the years of independence, our country has held various world-scale tournaments. Now Astana has appeared on the world map of table tennis.” Kassym-Jomart Tokayev.
Source: Astana Times