x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 21 July 2017

Table set for Hamid to step up

The World Team Cup will provide leading Emirati Rashid Abdul Hamid and his teammates with a chance to improve local standards in future.

DUBAI // Organisers of the World Team Cup, to be held in Dubai in September, say it will help raise the standard of table tennis in the Emirates by giving players the chance to compete against the best in the world. "We've been trying to bring this tournament here for over a year and now we have it," said Dawoud al Hajri, the president of the domestic Table Tennis Federation. "We're not looking to compete with the world powers but we want to develop the UAE national team by giving them the opportunity to take part in this tournament."

The World Team Cup should provide leading Emirati Rashid Abdul Hamid, a GCC men's bronze medallist, and his teammates with that stage. The world's top six men's and women's nations, as decided by the end-of-August rankings, will be joined by the leading teams from the African, North and South American and Oceania confederations. On present rankings, China, who have won four men's title in six tournaments, will be joined by Germany, South Korea, Hong Kong, Japan and Austria, while Egypt, Canada, Brazil and Australia top their regions.

In the women's likely draw, the top six include five-time winners China, Germany, South Korea, Hong Kong, Japan and Singapore, with Egypt, Venezuela, Holland and Australia in the frame. Matching the men's draw's elite 10 countries will prove too stiff a test for the UAE's squad, according to al Hajri. But he outlined the tournament's role in improving local standards. "Hamid is the our best player and we hope he can develop by playing against the world's best."