Iraqi clubs prepare for table tennis competition

Iraqis from all over the country will compete for spots on the national teams. [Ali Jarekji / Reuters]

Iraqis from all over the country will compete for spots on the national teams. [Ali Jarekji / Reuters]

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Iraqi club teams from provinces across the country are set to take part in the table tennis league competition in Baghdad on July 13th.

The contests will run for three days and will include all age groups and both men and women.

"The federation will choose players for national teams based on the levels put in at the championship, which will be supervised by a committee to select players," said Kadhum Khazal, president of the Iraqi Central Table Tennis Federation (ICTTF).

Coaches and players of the Iraqi national table tennis teams are preparing for a number of local and external championships as part of the plan that the ICTTF has drawn up for this year.

"We hope that Iraq's table tennis will have an honorable attendance at the next international competitions and events, the most important of which is the Pan-Arab Games in Qatar next November," Khazal said.

The ICTTF was also invited to take part in the second edition of the Istiqlal International Tournament, which the Jordanian Table Tennis Federation will organize next month.

Khazal said that table tennis "has started to recover" in recent years after Iraq returned to regional and international venues.

The ICTTF recently signed a professional coach, Belarus national Yati Alex, who is currently training Egypt's al-Ahli Club in preparation for the next Arab showdown.

The Iraqi national team will start domestic and international training camps in the near future to warm up for the Arab event. Such training camps will be organized in the provinces of Baghdad and Erbil, and there will be one training camp in Turkey and another in Jordan.

ICTTF secretary Abbas Wahid said, "The Iraqi table tennis league will be an important stop for Iraqi players of all age groups."

"The players will try to show their abilities and capabilities," Wahid said. "Each one of them hopes to wear the national team shirt, which is the dream of every athlete in any type of sport."

National team coach Hekmat Jawad said the Iraqi league will be an opportunity for all players.

"There are criteria for selecting national team players, whereby the best player as far as the technical level is concerned will be chosen," Jawad said. "The players who win first place will have an opportunity to represent the national teams in the next international events."

"The championship will witness fierce competition, especially since a large number of club players have the ambition to represent national teams," he added. "This adds to the beauty of the championship and will help raise the technical level of the local championships."






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