by Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Manager
In the group phase, Khalid Alshareif had finished in runners up spot behind China’s Li Haoteng but ahead of Qatar’s Yousof Aly and Oman’s Moayd Al Mutawa, prior to recording a straight games opening round win in opposition to Jordan’s Raed Aldmaisy.
The young man from Jeddah was too quick on the first attack for his Jordanian adversary; time and again he seized the advantage to dominate matters. He was a step ahead; however the previous day when confronting Li Haoteng, he had been a step behind (11-8, 11-4, 11-8).
“He was from China, he is of a higher level than me, he practises more than I do; returning service was extremely difficult, I could not read the spin on the ball. Over the table he was very good. Playing Raed was much different, I had played him twice before and both times I had won; I felt very confident before the match.” Khalid Alshareif
Against Raed Aldmaisy, Khalid Alshareif believed; facing Li Haoteng, he did not believe.
Sitting courtside advising was Youssef Rabie, who moved some four years ago from his native Egypt to become the Saudi Arabian national coach and principally direct the fortunes of the Men’s Team. He is now turning his attentions towards the young players. It is a role he assumed last Match.
“There is a good quality to Khalid’s play, he has good hands; he needs to mature, co-ordinate his play better and be more stable.” Youssef Rabie
Currently Khalid Alshareif plays at the Al-Ahly Club in Jeddah, it is the same organisation for whom the likes of Omar Assar and El-Sayed have represented in Egypt; also it is the club of Youssef Rabie.
In Youssef Rabie, Khalid Alshareif has a shrewd advisor who seems to have injected more than a grain of confidence into his young charge.
“I want to win the tournament and to beat the Chinese.” Khalid Alshareif
Winning this year, beating the Chinese, it’s a step too high at the moment; next year maybe, certainly Khalid Alshareif has the talent, now he needs to believe.