Three Afghan athletes will compete in WTT Star Contender Doha and the Asian Table Tennis Championships when the two events start later this month at the Lusail Sports Arena in Qatar.
Mustafa Bakhtiyari and Mohammad Hosseini will participate in the Men’s Singles and Doubles Qualifying rounds, whilst compatriot Behrooz Daneshmand will feature in the Men’s Singles Qualifying round. WTT Star Contender Doha will be held from September 20-25, with the Asian Table Tennis Championships starting the following week on September 28 and concluding on October 5.
The Afghan trio, who had originally planned to attend the Asian Championships. were granted wildcard spots enabling them to be part of a stellar field at WTT Star Contender Doha.
The WTT Contender Series event features Germany’s Dimitrij Ovtcharov and Jeon Jihee from the Republic of Korea, as the top seeds for the men’s and women’s singles competitions respectively.
Heleena Kakar, President of the Afghanistan Table Tennis Federation (ATTF), was grateful for the solidarity the international table tennis community has shown for her country and looks forward to seeing her athletes step up to the tables at the Lusail Sports Arena.
“I know the chaos and turmoil in Afghanistan have broken hearts and hopes. But nothing can break the soul of an Afghan. Our government may have collapsed but our people are still standing and will keep standing tall. We’ll fight in every sphere of life for their bright future. Our table tennis team will represent Afghanistan in Doha and demonstrate to the world that nothing can take us back to the dogma of Stone Age.
“We will also never forget those who stood with us in our bad days. On behalf of ATTF and the people of Afghanistan my deep sense of gratitude goes to ITTF group for being a true partner. I wish success to our team and pray that their success in these hard times will become a new beginning for a bright future for ATTF and Afghanistan. Long live United and independent Afghanistan. We fail but we never lose, we fall but we never leave trying to stand,” said Kakar.