In 2021 with the emergence of World Table Tennis, despite the Covid-19 pandemic the Qatar Table Tennis Association was first on list; yet again it was destination Doha.
Always state-of-the-art facilities have been available; likewise, ever present, making sure that everything is in the best of order has been Khalil Al Mohannadi, President of the Qatar Table Tennis Association.
He spoke to Olalekan Okusan, ITTF Member Relations Media Officer.
What have been the gains of hosting major WTT and ITTF events?
In 1994, we put Qatar on the map; later in 2004 we held the World Team Championships. The events confirmed Qatar as an important country to host major table tennis events; there has been no year without an event in Qatar.
Now we are following another strategy to host WTT Youth and some Feeder events for the benefit of our young Qatari players. We are working hard on the Qatari table tennis dream team to be among the best countries in the world.
What are the challenges and opportunities in hosting these major events?
Any big event is not an easy task, everything needs to be of high standard. In Qatar, everything is possible even during the pandemic, we succeeded to organise several WTT Events despite the difficulties and challenges faced.
Are there plans to host the World Championships in Qatar?
This is a very good question after a successful 2004 World Team Championships. We think strongly that the time is coming to host another World Championships in Qatar; I would be very happy to welcome the new table tennis generation from all around the world to visit our country and to see the legendary high Arabic sense of hospitality; for that reason Qatar will bid to host the 2025 World Championships
What is the future of table tennis in Qatar in terms of its popularity?
We are doing our best in this area, as you may know total population of Qatar is not so high, but we do have many popular clubs around the country all playing in a very successful professional league. They are in general in the top positions of the Arab Championships and Arab Cups. The total number of active table tennis players in Qatar is around 500 to 600 players.
What has been the relationship between QTTA and ITTF as well as WTT?
We have a very good relationship based on mutual respect and most importantly the same goals to be achieved in the development of our beloved sport of table tennis.