POSTED: October 27th 2011
Peace and Sport Table Tennis Cup in Qatar announced
LAURA WALDEN / Sports Features Communications
TAMPA/MONACO: The very first "Peace and Sport Table Tennis Cup" has been launched in Monaco during the annual international Forum being held by the organization.
The idea is a spin off the “Ping Pong Diplomacy” event in 1971 when the US table tennis team went to China to play friendlies in the middle of the Cold War breaking the ice and consequently was followed by President Richard Nixon’s visit to China the next year.
The event will take place in Qatar between 21-22 November and 10 nations will participate in the tournament that boasts $100,000 in winning prizes.
The aim is to encourage dialogue among nations and will be organized by the Qatar Table Tennis Association, with support from the National Olympic Committee of Qatar, under the leadership of the ITTF and the guidance of Peace and Sport.
Peace and Sport chief and founder, Joel Bouzou, said that the participating nations are the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (North Korea), Republic of Korea (South Korea), People's Republic of China, Japan, India, Pakistan, Russia, the United States of America (USA), France and hosts Qatar.
Bouzou said, "The first Peace and Sport Table Tennis Cup is set to be a great event! It will foster communication and political reconciliation at the highest level, since diplomats and government representatives from the 10 participating nations are invited to watch the tournament. We are extremely proud to have succeeded in gathering together, under the banner of sport, countries that refuse to mix in other contexts.
“The neutral status of sport plays the role of mediator on the international diplomatic stage. This tournament will make a step to encourage dialogue between countries, to promote mutual understanding and peace.”
This tournament is fruit of a long-term project between Peace and Sport and the ITTF to promote peace through sport in Colombia and Timor Leste.
Adham Sharara, ITTF President, added, “This unprecedented event will forge bonds of friendship between the participating nations: The competition aims to promote world peace and we are proud that table tennis is the sport that is fully implemented in this cause.
"The best table tennis champions from the participating 10 countries will compete amicably for two days, in men’s and women’s doubles matches with mixed-nation teams. The 'Peace and Sport Table Tennis Cup' will create unprecedented duos that will make a lasting impression on memories and make the athletes spokespeople for peace.”
Peace and Sport has a number of alliances with international sports federations to use sport as a vehicle for peace.
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Laura Walden ()
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