Table Tennis players from North Korea and South Korea, Pakistan and India will compete in mixed pairs in Doha, Qatar on 20 and 21 November.
40 years after "Ping-Pong Diplomacy" helped to restore diplomatic relations between USA and China during the Cold War, Table Tennis is about to make history again by uniting North Korea and South Korea, India and Pakistan through sport!
On the 15th November, "Peace and Sport, l'Organisation pour la Paix par le Sport" proudly approved the provisional doubles pairings draws made by the International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF) for the "Peace and Sport Table Tennis Cup", a historic table tennis tournament conceived to encourage dialogue and reconciliation between nations, which will be held in Qatar on 21 - 22 November 2011.
Provisional pairings for the 10 participating nations are as follows:
1. PEOPLE'S REPUBLIC OF CHINA (China) paired with QATAR
2. FRANCE with JAPAN
3. INDIA with PAKISTAN
4. DEMOCRATIC PEOPLE'S REPUBLIC OF KOREA (North Korea) with REPUBLIC OF KOREA (South Korea)
5. USA with RUSSIA
These proposed pairings will create unforgettable and historic matches in line with the ultimate goal of the event. By playing together as doubles teams, the athletes will pave the way to ease political tensions, unite nations through table tennis and foster peace and dialogue.
Founded by Modern Pentathlon former World Champion and Olympic medallist Joel Bouzou, and placed under the High-Patronage of H.S.H. Prince Albert II of Monaco, "Peace and Sport" along with the ITTF is the instigator of this friendly event organized by the Qatar Table Tennis Association, with support from the National Olympic Committee of Qatar.
Joel Bouzou, President of Peace and Sport commented:
"The first Peace and Sport Table Tennis Cup is set to be a historic moment! It will foster dialogue between countries and promote mutual understanding and peace in an unprecedented way for a sports event. By pairing together, the athletes will provide an example of amicable teamwork to diplomats and government representatives from the 10 participating nations who are invited to watch the tournament. The neutral status of sport provides an ideal environment for people to meet and discuss with no fixed agenda. That's the power of sport! As a former athlete myself, it's a great pride and an immense honour to have succeeded in bringing together countries which would not easily communicate in other contexts."
The provisional draws for men's and women's doubles pairs in the Peace and Sport Table Tennis Cup were made during the World Junior Table Tennis Championships in Bahrain under the supervision of the ITTF's Executive Director of Competitions, Ms. Judit Farago.
The provisional pairings and rankings will need to be officially approved by the ITTF Executive Committee on 19 November 2011 to become effective. The official competition draw will then be made in Doha on 20 November 2011. The tournament has a $100,000 prize fund for the winners offered by Korean Airlines.
Provisional Seedings for Doubles Pairs in the Peace and Sport Table Tennis Cup
Seeding Pair and Ranking Points
1st seed: KIM Kyong Ah (KOR) + KIM Hye Song (PRK) 2579+2028 = 4607
2nd seed: ZHANG Lily (USA) + TIKHOMIROVA Anna (RUS) 1959+2205 = 4164
3rd seed: GRUNDISCH Carole (FRA) + MIYAKE Natsumi (JPN) 2091+1805 = 3896
4th seed: CAO Zhen (CHN) + MOHAMED Aia Magdy (QAT) 2359+ 805 = 3164
5th seed: GHATAK Poulomi (IND) + FLAK SHER Sadia (PAK) 1759+ 750 = 2509
photos Janos Schmidt