by Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Manager
A notable performance, runners up spot and thus a place in the main draw but that is not the most pertinent factor; the more relevant factor is that he is only nine years old, he was born in December 2008.
Full of energy, desperate to succeed, Sultan Al-Kuwari is one of five young players from Qatar on duty in Muscat, under 12 years of age. Similarly both Mohammed Salem Al-Ansari and Rawad Al Naser were born in 2008, Khaled Alyafei and Yousof Aly in 2006.
In addition an extensive group of coaches is present to guide and direct fortunes, one such advisor being Vitaly Nekhvedovich, the former Belarus international, who at the Liebherr 2016 World Team Championships in Bremen was the backbone of a quite sensational three-two success against Russia.
Vitaly Nekhvedovich beat both Alexey Smirnov and Fedor Kuzmin to save the day after Vladimir Samsonov had lost to Alexey Smirnov but had beaten Fedor Kuzmin.
“The players are just learning; it’s only our second ITTF World Junior Circuit tournament; last year we went to Serbia. Also last year in November we played in a tournament in Ångby, Sweden. The players go to school from 7.00am to 2.00pm; then they rest and we practise from 4.00pm to 7.00pm. We practise at the Qatar Table Tennis Association premises; sometimes we work with Peter Karlsson who is based at Aspire.” Vitaly Nekhvedovich
Learning and they can learn from Vitaly Nekhvedovich; he succeeded thanks to hard work and honesty, there were no frills about his play. Simply treat every opponent as a player and do your best.
Furthermore, it would seem Vitaly Nekhvedovich, who has been in Qatar now for three years, is also learning. In 2006 in Bremen, Vladimir Samsonov had to fulfil the role of translator; no longer are such services needed.