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Dubai tipped for TT World Cup.

Byline: Duane Fonseca, Staff Reporter

Dubai: A senior International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF) official has shown Dubai the two thumbs up hinting that the emirate is a firm favourite for the 2011 Table Tennis World Cup.

Present at the ongoing 2009 Gulf Cooperation Council Table Tennis Championship at Al Nasr Club, was Khalid Al Salhy, chairman of the ITTF Calendar Working Group, which does a feasibility study of the infrastructure and the management capability available at venues around the world. He admitted to be busy preparing a dossier on Dubai.

His report will be presented to the ITTF, during its 2010 meeting in Moscow in May, and the sport's international body will then decide on whether or not Dubai is fit to host a tournament of the size of the World Cup.

But Al Salhy suggested Dubai had nothing to be worried about and hinted that the emirate had in fact exceeded expectations in hosting the GCC event.

"We are discussing the hosting of the ITTF Singles World Cup for men here. Discussions are on, but this won't be in 2010 because it's too late for that but there is a good chance that the 2011 World Cup could be hosted in Dubai," Al Salhy revealed.

"I'm very satisfied with the way this tournament has been conducted and the organisation meets the standards of international events, which is one of the most important elements [for a country to be considered for an event like the World Cup]."

If Dubai gets the ITTF's nod, 16 of the world's best singles players, including the six continental champions, the top six "eligible" players in the world rankings, a host association player, the defending champion and two wild card entries, could fly to the emirate for the three-day tournament.

A World Cup can have a maximum of two players from a participating association, a third player can be fielded only as a "wild card" selection. And Al Salhy believes it is this eligibility pattern that paves the way for an incredibly tough tournament.

Meanwhile, Al Salhy said the ITTF will review the minutes of the GCC Table Tennis Association meeting, which was held in Dubai yesterday, and put forward recommendations so that standards set by the ITTF are met domestically and regionally.

"The association held a meeting to discuss the competition rules for this event and for clubs and we will go through their agenda and make recommendations. We will speak with them about the requirements of the ITTF in the coming years and monitor their progress," Al Salhy added.

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Publication:Gulf News (United Arab Emirates)
Date:Aug 11, 2009
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