21 Nov 2023
Doha - The Aspire Academy table tennis programme is continuing to find young student-athletes with the potential to develop into top players for Qatar.
The student-athletes have again been taking part in international events organised by World Table Tennis (WTT) in various age groups.
A recent example of the progress being made came at the WTT Youth Contender Cairo 2023 event in Egypt, as the Aspire student-athletes ended their international tournaments for the year.
One of the highlights in Cairo saw Aspire Academy student-athlete Rawad Alnaser claim a morale-boosting win over China’s Ma Mingjun in the boys under-15 singles category.
Aspire Academy’s Head Table Tennis Coach Peter Karlsson says such victories prove that the table tennis programme is on the right track.
“To have a young player winning against a Chinese national team player is extremely big,” Karlsson explained.
“The win gives a strong signal to the table tennis world that we are working well and that a country like Qatar can develop top players.”
“It also encourages our young local players. It shows it's possible to win against the best players in the world.”
“As a coach, it's the best thing that can happen. To have a group of players with strong self-belief and a lot of energy it’s very good for future development.”
Karlsson was also full of praise for Rawad Alnaser and his fellow under-15 players.
“For Rawad personally it proves that he's a player with a great future - he has definitely not reached his full potential,” Karlsson insisted.
“With continued development of his physical fitness and more quality hours in the training hall, he can be even better.”
“We should also mention Ahmed Korani and Sultan Alkuwari, who are the same age as Rawad, as the trio have a healthy competition amongst themselves and that brings out the best in all of them.”
All three student-athletes have also enjoyed success in 2023 among the highlights were Ahmed Korani and Rawad Alnaser teaming up to reach the semi-finals of the Boys Under-15 Doubles at June’s WTT Youth Star Contender Lima in Peru.
Ahmed Korani also reached the quarter-finals of the Boys U15 Singles at the same tournament.
At August’s 2023 Arab Table Tennis Championships in Iraq, there was a silver for Ahmed Korani and a bronze for Sultan Alkuwari in the boys under-15 singles category and the two then teamed up to finish runners-up in the doubles.
There was a third silver at those championships in the under-15’s team event which also featured Rawad Alnaser.
Attention now turns to the Qatar Club Men’s League which begins on 22 November which will offer the Aspire’s young student-athletes the chance to test themselves against some of the best senior players in the country.