MUSCAT: Four of the world’s top-ten men’s paddlers and six of the top-20 women’s players along with other leading players will vie for the top honours in the WTT Contender Muscat 2023, which will be played from October 8-14 at the Sultan Qaboos Sports Complex (SQSC).
Heading the men’s singles field is world No.4 Tomokazu Harimoto of Japan while the other top-ten ranked paddlers include world No.5 Hugo Calderano of Brazil, Chinese Taipei’s Lin Yun-Ju (world No.7) and Germany’s Dimitrij Ovtcharov.
In the women’s singles, Japan’s world No.6 Hina Hayata is the top ranked player in the competitive field, which also has South Korean world No.9 Shin Yubin besides a host of top-20 players.
The US$75,000 prize-money tournament will be played at the indoor hall of the Sultan Qaboos Sports Complex with nearly 150 players from 34 nations competing in men’s and women’s singles, men’s and women’s doubles and mixed doubles events.
Organised by Oman Table Tennis Association (OTTA) in coordination with World Table Tennis (WTT), this is the third time the WTT Contender event is being held in Muscat after two successful outings in March and September 2022.
Oman’s head coach Omid Shamas Sharbabki from Iran also announced the team for his first major assignment with the Sultanate paddlers.
The five-member squad includes Muhanad Al Balushi, Asad Al Raisi, Badar Al Jassasi, Loqman Al Farsi and Mohammed Al Mutawa.
The players went under an intensive training programme during the past couple of weeks under Sharbabki. The Iranian coach picked the team based on the players’ recent achievements in the domestic tournaments. Oman’s paddlers will hope to gain experience against the world’s top players as the WTT provides a great opportunity for the local paddlers.
OTTA Chairman Abdullah Bamakhalif said: “Hosting of such international tournaments in Oman is part of the OTTA’s annual plans to organise world-class events and put Oman on the world map. It also provides a good platform for our local players to gauge their skills and watch the best in action. OTTA had successfully hosted two editions of WTT Contender in Muscat last year. We hope to make this edition event better. Earlier this year we also hosted the 2023 World Veteran Championship at Oman Convention and Exhibition Centre.”