2019 ITTF-ATTU Asian Championships
Yogyakarta, Sunday 15th September
Brave effort but disappointment for hosts
Eyes focused on table no.7 as play commenced in the men’s team event at the 2019 ATTU-ITTF Asian Championships in the Indonesian city of Yogyakarta; the host nation faced Bahrain, it was not to prove the outcome the locals desired.
Mohamed Saleh spoiled the party, as alongside Rashed Rashed and Alyas Alyassi he guided Bahrain to a 3-2 win in opposition to Syahrizal Mamonto, Rafanael Niman and Hafidh Annafi.
Left handed, preferring to play a step back from the table with controlled top spin, Mohamed Saleh accounted for Syahrizal Mamonto in the opening match of the fixture (9-11, 11-4, 11-3, 11-6), before in the fourth match accounting for Rafanael Niman (11-5, 12-10, 11-8).
“The first match was really hard but I was able to keep calm and focused; I tried to play safe, play with controlled top spin, make sure I put the first ball on the table. The second match was different, we were losing 2-1 so I had to win, I had to win for my country. I did feel some pressure but my head was good, I was thinking clearly. It wasn't easy; I felt I was playing at 5.00 o'clock in the morning! There's a four hour time difference between here and Bahrain!” Mohamed Saleh
Success for Mohamed Saleh set the set scene for Rashed Rashed to be the Bahraini hero of the hour. After earlier having lost to Rafanael Niman (11-5, 15-13, 7-11, 11-5), he responded to the challenge; he accounted for Syahrizal Mamonto in five games (11-9, 7-11, 6-11, 11-8, 11-7). The one further win for Indonesia was recorded by Hafidh Annafi, in the third match of the encounter he overcame Alyas Alyassi (7-11, 11-9, 11-5, 11-6).
A hard fought success for Bahrain, there was also a close call for the Palestine trio formed by Yousri Abou Sef, Husam Doufesh and Fadi Masalma; they were extended the full five match distance by Kyrgystan’s Mukhammed Akhemzhanov, Abdyljan and Evgeny Tsoi. The player to cause Palestine problems was Mukhammed Akhemzhanov, he beat both Yousri Abou Sef (11-9, 15-13, 11-8) and Husam Doufesh (11-3, 14-12, 11-9).
The group stage of the men’s team and women’s team events conclude later in the day.
Editor: Ian Marshall