DUBAI // The UAE senior team got off to the best possible start on the opening day of the 14th GCC Table Tennis Championship with a victory over Bahrain in the morning session yesterday. Led by Emirati No 1, Rashid Abdul Hamid, the team comprising Faisal Abbas, Jassim Linjawi and Rashid Mohammed, drew the all-important first blood, against the Bahrainis, winning 3-1 and went into yesterday's late fixture against Qatar full of confidence.
Kuwait lost to Qatar, 3-2, while Saudi Arabia cooled their heels until the evening session when they were due to face Kuwait. The UAE's anticipated team clash with title holders Saudi Arabia will not take place until 6:30pm this evening following a morning bout against Kuwait. "We have a good record but we have never won gold in the senior competition and that is what we are here to do," said Hamid, who, along with his teammates, stands to receive an undisclosed cash prize from the UAE Table Tennis Association should they claim that elusive gold medal.
"Our players are ready. We know our opponents well too because we have played them more than 20 times in the past, so we feel this is our year." In the junior category, the UAE fared less well, coming up short against Saudi Arabia, 1-3. They were due to take on Bahrain in the morning session today, starting at 9.30am. In the cadet age group - a category that the UAE won in 2005 - the national team dominated Kuwait 3-0 while Saudi Arabia looked equally strong, beating Bahrain by the same margin.
The UAE will aim to keep their momentum going against Bahrain at 11:30am today. The team competition concludes tomorrow and the doubles and singles tournaments get underway on Wednesday. Entry for spectators to Al Nasr Club is free. @Email:email@example.com