The Iraqi Central Table Tennis Federation (ICTTF) is preparing to kick off the World Youth and Junior Table Tennis Championship, which is scheduled to be held in Erbil January 26th-30th.
Federation president Kadhum Khazal said the ICTTF was working on providing three training camps for the Iraqi players to prepare for the championship.
The first training camp will be held in the province of Duhok for players from the northern provinces, the second will be held in Baghdad for players from the mid-Euphrates and southern areas, while the third will be held in the province of Kirkuk.
Coach Hekmat Jawad and trainers Bassam Ahmed and Muayid Abdul Hassan will supervise these camps.
"The International Table Tennis Federation will send a Russian coach to supervise the Iraqi national teams," Khazal said. "Sending a foreign coach to supervise the national teams of the host country is a tradition that the international federation follows."
ICTTF secretary Abbas Waheed said this is the first time the federation has organized a world championship.
"This makes us form committees to work on preparing all the necessary circumstances for making the championship a success," he said.
The ICTTF has formed 12 committees to organize the championship, which will be held at the Mall Center area in Erbil.
"An Egyptian team will be with us to help us organize this championship," Waheed said. "Our Egyptian brothers have experience in this field, and they will be the best to help us make this international table tennis event a success."
So far, 13 countries confirmed their participation in the championship, including France, Sweden, Nigeria, Turkey, Bahrain, Jordan, Syria, Lebanon, Qatar, United Arab Emirates, Egypt, Algeria and Iran. Reservations have already been made at three first-class hotels to host the participating sports delegations.
"We want the championship to be one of the most successful championships," said ICTTF administrative director Asaad al-Salami. "This is what we are working on right now."
The Nigerian table tennis team has requested to hold a training camp in one of the northern provinces and will arrive in Iraq on January 16th to start training.
Last August in Lebanon, the Iraqi junior table tennis team won third place in the Arab School Table Tennis Championship. In the Bahrain championship a month earlier, the Iraqi youth table tennis team came in 8th place and the adult team came in the 9th place.