BEIJING: The China's national table tennis teams have moved their training to Qatar as a result of the outbreak of the coronavirus.
"We are very grateful for all the assistance provided to us during this time of difficulty," Chinese Table Tennis Association (CTTA) president Liu Guoliang said on the international federation ITTF website.
"We didn’t expect that they could prepare the venue, tables and facilities for us within such a short period of time."
A total of 29 members of the women's and men's teams did not return home after the German Open in Magdeburg.
The squad is preparing for the World Tour event in Qatar from March 3-8.
A return to China may also have endangered preparations for the team World Championships in South Korea from March 22-29 and the Olympic Games in Tokyo from July 24 to Aug 9.
The Chinese team received offers of training help from a number of federations but chose Qatar because of the forthcoming event in Doha.
The teams will remain in the country to prepare for the world team championships.
“The tables that we are using for training are those that will be used at the Qatar Open," said Liu.
“QTTA has even given us all 2,000 ball that they had in storage for us to train. It might be a common situation in China but it’s very heart-warming, especially during this particular period and we really appreciate all this help from our international friends.”
Asian powerhouse China has won 28 out of 32 golds awarded since the sport became an Olympic sport in 1988 and QTTA chief Khalil Al-Mohannadi said he wanted to make sure the world’s best would be playing at the Qatar event.
China's men team is led by Ma Long, the current world and Olympic champion, while the women's team is led by Ding Ning, the three-time world champion and current Olympic champion.
China and Hong Kong have meanwhile had to withdraw from badminton's Asia team championships in Manila due to the coronavirus outbreak.
The Chinese teams were regarded as favourites for the tournament which began on Tuesday. - dpa/The Star/Asian News Network
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