07 Feb 2018

Play under way in the Junior Boys’ Team event at the 2018 Oman Junior and Cadet Open in Muscat; one young man stood out from the crowd. On the late morning of Wednesday 7th February, the player to attract my attention was Khaled Khader.

He masterminded Jordan's three matches to nil success against the partnership formed by Lebanon’s Alex El Darzi and Saudi Arabia’s Khalid Alshareif.

by Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Manager

The 17 year old from Amman was most impressive; sound technical skills, good balance and a calm approach attracted the attention. Frankly he was a step ahead.

He beat Alex El Darzi in three straight games (12-10, 14-12, 11-6), before partnering colleague Khaled Alhourani to secure the doubles (11-5, 11-8, 9-11, 11-5).

“I felt I was in reasonable control of the match but I did find receiving service difficult; after I won the second game I felt very confident; the first match in a tournament is always difficult.” Khaled Khader

A straight games verdict in the opening contest, the second match of the fixture was very different; Hasan Alhourani had to recover from a two games to nil deficit to beat Khalid Alshareif (16-18, 8-11, 11-4, 11-6, 11-8).

“Maybe I just had the edge on experience, I was in too much of a hurry at the start of the match, my coach told me to spin the ball more and play towards the middle of the table.” Hasan Alhourani

The coach in question was Ghazal Hashem who sat calmly throughout directing operations.

“We have a good coach in Jordan now, Amr Reda from Egypt, so our players have been able to go to practise at the El-Ahly and Zamalek clubs in Cairo; the have been able to practise with players like El-Sayed Lashin and Ahmed Ali Saleh.” Ghazal Hashem

Now the fact Khaled Khader has been able to practise with high level Egyptian players appears to be paying dividends. Last year he came very close last year to beating the player who in 2017 caused sensation after sensation.

At the Asian qualification tournament for the Buenos Aires 2018 Youth Olympic Games; he trailed Japan’s Tomokazu Harimoto by two games to nil. He won the third 15-13 before in the fourth leading 10-7. Tomokazu Harimoto elected for “Time Out” and won the next five points.

Defeat but that result reflects the quality of Khaled Khader; the door to the 2018 Youth Olympic Games is still open via the Road to Buenos Aires series, he may well yet book a place in the South American city.

World Junior Circuit 2018 Oman Junior & Cadet Open Khaled Khader

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