09 Feb 2018

Tension and the home supporters on their feet in support of a bright ten year old in the group stage of the Hopes Boys’ Singles event, as the morning session of play on the third day of action, Friday 9th February, at the 2018 Oman Junior and Cadet Open in Muscat came to a close.

Eyes focused on Ahmed Al Riyami and he duly delivered; eventually after some nervous moments, he beat Qatar’s Yousof Aly in a full distance five games contest (11-8, 11-13, 11-7, 11-13, 11-6).

by Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Manager

However, one wondered if the aspiring Omani had missed his chance; in the fourth game, playing in a positive manner he led 10-8, then he became passive, he tried to save the game rather than win it. He lost the game, he was devastated.

Asad Al-Raisi, the coach sitting courtside worked wonders, so did the crowd; from the depths of despair they lifted their young hero to greater heights

“The spectators motivated me; at 10-8 in the fourth game I was so tense, so nervous. In the fifth game my coach told me to serve short; I’m so happy now!” Ahmed Al Riyami

A happy player and a relieved coach was the end result.

“I told him to use a backspin service in the fifth game and follow with a top spin but he didn’t, he was so tense. The main thing is that he fought, he was good mentally, I really think that in the years to come he can be one of the very best players in the Arab region.” Asad Al-Raisi

He is young, he shows his feelings and he is good to watch but that could be his downfall; he likes to go back from the table, lob the ball.

“I like to put two or three balls on the table and then play strongly.” Ahmed Al Riyami

Now the problem with retreating to the court surrounds to play lobbed returns is entertaining; just one problem, it doesn’t win table tennis matches!

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World Junior Circuit 2018 Oman Junior & Cadet Open Ahmed Al Riyami

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