Looking to learn and gain good experience: Raisi

Asad al Raisi

With a field boasting of more than 25 players in top-100 men's world ranking, the Seamaster 2019 ITTF Challenge Plus Oman Open, starting at the Sultan Qaboos Sports Complex from Wednesday,  is expected to provide a learning experience for the local paddlers, according to one of Oman’s most experienced player, Asad al Raisi.

Raisi is part of the Omani quartet that will compete in the event. The other three are Muhannad al Balushi, Haitham al Mandhari and Al Julunda al Kharusi. The quartet are aware of the challenges they will face against some of the top players but, at the same time, are excited to compete at home.

Speaking ahead of the qualifying event, Raisi said, “Oman Open is a great opportunity for me and my other three teammates. We will be getting a chance to play against some of the best players in the world. It is golden opportunity to learn from our much-higher ranked rivals.”

Sweden's world No 13 Mattias Falck is the men's top seed while Chinese Taipei's Cheng I-Ching, who is world No 8, is women's top seed.

Raisi, who plays for Seeb Club, said, “It is all about learning and gaining experience from the best in business. Our aim is to enrich ourselves by playing and watching these world-class players in Oman. The exposure we will have will go a long way in develop ourselves as better players.”

Organised by the Oman Table Tennis Committee (OTTC), the tournament is the biggest TT event to be held in Oman so far.

Around 260 participants from across the world including players, coaches, referees and administrative staff from 40 countries are participating in the five-day event with a total prize fund of US$65,000.

Though action begins with the qualifying rounds on Wednesday and Thursday, the draw ceremony  will be held on Tuesday. The main round will be played from Friday to Sunday.

The tournament will witness seven categories - singles (men and women), doubles (men, women and mixed), singles U21 (men and women).

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