Qatar gives three Afghans ‘generic places’ to compete in table tennis championship – Doha News


Qatar helps athletes with their visa and travel documents.

Three Afghan athletes will participate in the World Table Tennis [WTT] Star Contender and the Asian Table Tennis Championships in Qatar at the end of September.

According to the International Table Tennis Foundation [ITTF], athletes Mustafa Bakhtiyari and Mohammad Hosseini will compete in the men’s singles and doubles qualifying rounds while Behrooz Daneshmand will participate in the men’s singles qualifying rounds.

“I know that the chaos and turmoil in Afghanistan have shattered hearts and hearts. But nothing can break the soul of an Afghan. Our government may have collapsed, but our people still stand and will continue to stand. We will fight in all walks of life for their bright future, ”said the President of the Afghan Table Tennis Federation. [ATTF] Hélène Kakar.

The move came after the Qatar Table Tennis Association [QTTA] allocated wildcard places to athletes to enable them to participate in the championships in Doha. The Afghan champions were initially scheduled to compete in the Asian Championships, which were also scheduled to take place in Qatar at the Lusail Sports Arena.

“We are delighted to award them wildcards where they now have the opportunity to compete against some of the best table tennis players in the world. We are also helping them with their visa and travel documents so that they are ready to join us in Qatar as we prepare to present table tennis to the world again ”, said Khalil Al-Mohannadi, President of the QTTA and ITTF Vice President. .

“At times like this, we want to provide an opportunity for our Afghan table tennis athletes to compete and continue their professional table tennis journey,” he added.

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The WTT Star Contender will run from September 20 to 25 and the Asian Table Tennis Championships will begin the following week, from September 28 to October 5.

The ITTF statement said the gesture is also part of its “Solidarity Through Table Tennis” initiative, which aims to ensure equal participation and preparation for athletes.

In light of the latest events in Afghanistan, the federation stressed the importance of allowing the Afghan national team to participate in international events in a fluid manner.

“One of the most remarkable things sport can do is bring people together. And the ITTF’s vision, “Table tennis. For everyone. For Life ‘, is really reflected in the fact that we are inclusive and our joint efforts to bring them to Doha, ”said Steve Dainton, CEO of ITTF Group.

Commenting on the latest news, Leandro Olvech, director of the ITTF Foundation, said the federation is “happy to promote solidarity through table tennis” and to use sport “as a tool to develop diplomatic and friendly relations. between humanity ”.

Long live united and independent Afghanistan. We fail but we never lose, we fall but we never go off trying to stand, ”Kakar said.

Women’s soccer team

Meanwhile, the Afghan women’s football team and their families arrived in Pakistan on Wednesday after fleeing their country weeks after the Taliban took control of the country.

Pakistani Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry said the players entered the country through the northwestern border post at Torkham with valid travel documents.

While the Taliban have yet to comment on the matter, The Associated Press [AP] reported that an official, who was not authorized to comment before the official announcements, said the government’s interpretation of Islam is incompatible with women’s participation in any sport.

While it is not clear whether the women’s football team will stay in Pakistan or not, Al Jazeera has said they are expected to visit Qatar, a key player in the mass evacuation mission.

However, Qatari authorities have still not confirmed their trip to Qatar.

So far, Qatar has evacuated more than 50,000 Afghans and foreigners from the country following the Taliban takeover of Kabul on August 15, with some citing fears of strict rule based militants. on their interpretation of Islam.

Women and girls have expressed particular concerns for their safety. During the previous Taliban rule in the 1990s, women were not allowed to go out without a male guardian and were denied access to education and employment.

Since taking control last month, the Taliban have issued statements to allay such concerns, promising to allow women access to college on the condition that they wear the hijab while separating them from their counterparts. male.

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