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  • Federation Focus: Chinese Athletes Welcomed in Qatar


    (ATR) The Chinese national table tennis team will be calling Qatar home for the next few weeks.

    China table tennis team in Qatar for training (ITTF)
    Since last week, 29 members of the team have been training at the Aspire Academy in Doha due to the outbreak of the coronavirus.

    A big part of the decision to choose Qatar over other available options was that an upcoming 2020 ITTF World Tour event happens to be in Qatar from March 3-8.

    The Qatar Table Tennis Association (QTTA) helped to arrange a high-quality training environment for the Chinese team with just a single day’s notice, after receiving confirmation from the Chinese team on its plans.

    “We are very grateful for all the assistance provided to us during this time of difficulty. We didn’t expect that they could prepare the venue, tables and facilities for us within such a short period of time,“ said President of the Chinese Table Tennis Association (CTTA), Liu Guoliang.

    From left: ITTF CEO Steve Dainton, CTTA President, Liu Guoliang and QTTA President and ITTF Deputy President Khalil Al-Mohannadi (ITTF)
    The Chinese team will remain in Qatar to prepare for the World Team Table Tennis Championships to be held in Busan, Korea from March 22-29.

    Khalil Al-Mohannadi, QTTA President and ITTF Deputy President, wants to ensure the Chinese team’s stay in Qatar goes as smoothly as possible.

    “When I heard about the Coronavirus in China, our worry was that the Chinese national team would not be able to play at the Qatar Open. For me it is not the Qatar Open and not the World Championships without China. We are all part of the ITTF family and we are doing this as friends for the whole table tennis family,” he says.

    The ITTF says it is monitoring the situation with the coronavirus outbreak and its impact on the competition schedule. Two ITTF events, one scheduled for February and the other for March, have already been postponed. The next tournaments in China are not until May.

    IMMAF Board Approves 2020 Plans

    IMMAF Board of directors in Kazakhstan (IMMAF)
    The board of directors of the International Mixed Martial Arts Federation agree in Kazakhstan on a strategy for 2020.

    During a two-day meeting in Nur-Sultan, the panel agreed to step up efforts to gain official recognition from the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) and the Global Association of International Sports Federation (GAISF) while continuing to strengthen IMMAF’s operational capacity.

    Uzbekistan was also welcomed as a new member with observation status.

    The board approved the formation of Area commissions for Africa, Asia, Europe, Oceania and Americas as well as a Central Asian commission made up of Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan.

    “The creation of these Area and Regional Commissions, under the IMMAF umbrella, will allow our policies and values to develop more quickly at local level, where the impact on the development of amateur MMA will be greatest,” IMMAF President Kerrith Brown said.

    The Board also approved a revamp of the IMMAF brand, website and a new IT strategy.

    UK Sport Investigates UK Athletics

    (UK Athletics)
    UK Athletics will be under the microscope of an independent review commissioned by UK Sport.

    In announcing the decision on Feb. 11, UK Sport said “This initial discovery phase will consider the strategy, leadership, governance, operation, culture and connectivity of UK Athletics within the context of the sport as a whole”.

    The results will be brought together with independent reviews that have already been commissioned into safeguarding and UKA’s response to issues surrounding the Nike Oregon Project, which folded in October of last year after a doping investigation resulted in a four-year ban of longtime coach Alberto Salazar.

    Dame Sue Street, former Permanent Secretary at the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, will independently assess the issues raised and recommend next steps later in the spring.

    “Our aim in commissioning this first stage review is to ensure we have a full understanding of the priority issues and any next steps required to help the sport move forward,” said Sally Munday, CEO of UK Sport.

    Written by Gerard Farek

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