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Chinese paddlers withdraw from WTT Middle East Hub

Xinhua | Updated: 2021-02-25 09:51
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BEIJING - The Chinese table tennis team has adjusted its recent arrangement and announced Wednesday to withdraw from the World Table Tennis (WTT) Middle East Hub.

The Chinese Table Tennis Association (CTTA) took the decision for the national team to skip the February 28 to March 20 events in Doha because of COVID-19 concerns, according to a statement released by the CTTA.

Qin Zhijian, Secretary-General of the CTTA, expressed his regret on the withdrawal.

"We will not be able to send table tennis players to play outside of China until the Olympic Games due to the ongoing pandemic situation worldwide.

"We have been putting in full effort to make it happen because we truly wish to participate in and show support to the first-ever WTT event, but now sadly we need to cancel our participation to WTT Middle East Hub," said Qin.

A WTT senior official responded, saying it's disappointing but understandable.

"Team China's withdrawal from the Middle East Hub is disappointing but under the circumstances, the CTTA have outlined," said Stephen Duckitt, Event Strategy Director of the WTT.

"Despite the continuing challenge of the COVID-19 pandemic, we are ready to deliver the first official WTT events in Doha and we will continue to work closely with the Qatar Table Tennis Association and local authorities to ensure the safety of everyone involved," he added.

As the sport's world governing body ITTF's season-opening action under the new WTT event structure, the Middle East Hub will have two events to take place consecutively at the Lusail Sports Arena. A WTT Contender event will get the 2021 calendar underway before players move to the first WTT Star Contender event the following week. 

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