When Jordan hosts the best table tennis players from across West Asia this weekend in Aqaba, the local contingent will be out to prove a point.
The Kingdom has been chosen to stage the West Asia Table Tennis Championships from February 9-12 in the Red Sea city, and 20 members of Team Jordan are preparing hard to ensure the host nation will be the team to beat.
One of those, Ziad Aziz, 20, believes that the sport is in good shape here and says that despite the high competition from the likes of Saudi Arabia, UAE, Iraq, Bahrain, Palestine and Oman, Jordanian players can make the podium in the various age group competitions.
“We have been training hard for more than a month now to be ready,” Ziad told www.joc.jo.
“We have been holding one session in the morning one in the evening because we all want to do well in our home event.
“The Jordan Table Tennis Federation has provided us with all our needs so there are no excuses. As athletes we are looking to make everybody proud of us.”
Ziad is one of the few local players of recent times who has consistently challenged at the regional and international level, but he believes there are some prosperous times approaching for the sport here.
“This championship can be the new start for us,” he said. “We want to make a statement this weekend with some strong performances which we can build on for future events with this group of players who are very talented.”
As well as the senior men and women events, there are youth (U18) and junior (U15) competitions for both male and female players.
Ziad, who was the Arab Youth Champion in 2015, believes he is now ready to challenge for the seniors’ crown this weekend.
“I want this title, especially as we are hosting the tournament. It would be extra special,” he said. “It would be a dream come true and provide me with the boost to go on and achieve more in this sport.”
The West Asia Table Tennis Championships get underway on February 9 at the Rosary School in Aqaba.