Diplomats play ping-pong to mark China’s 60th anniversary - [Sports news]
A table tennis competition between foreign diplomats living in China was held at the Beijing Gymnasium last Saturday.
Some 100 foreign diplomats from 37 embassies and international organizations, including Australia, Pakistan, Venezuela and the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), participated in the contest, which was organized by the Maldives embassy in China.
"We are organizing this event to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the founding of the People's Republic of China," Ahmed Latheef, the Maldives Ambassador to China, told chinadaily.com.cn.
Mr. Latheef said that as the national sport of China, ping-pong is "the best choice" for foreign diplomats to commemorate the 60th anniversary.
"It is an important milestone which we thought, as diplomats, will celebrate jointly with the people of China to mark this important occasion." said Mr. Latheef.
As a table tennis player himself, Mr Latheef represented Maldives in table tennis in 1973 at the AAA Friendship Invitational Tournament and in 1990 at the Asian Games.
Foreign diplomats and organizers pose for a photo before the "2009 Diplomats' Table Tennis Tournament" at the Beijing Gymnasium in Beijing, June 20, 2009.
Being the second of its kind, this year's "Diplomats' Table Tennis Tournament" marked 60th Anniversary of the People's Republic of China".
The first tournament, initiated and also organized by the Maldives embassy in China, was held last year to observe the 50-day countdown to the 2008 Olympic Games.
The Maldives Ambassador to China, Ahmed Latheef (2nd L, front), who won Men's Singles during last year's Tournament, plays an exhibition match at the opening ceremony of the "2009 Diplomats' Table Tennis Tournament" at the Beijing Gymnasium, June 20, 2009.
The Russian embassy became the biggest winner in the end, claiming the team champion, and both the champion and the second place in the men's singles.
The contest included team matches, singles for men and women, as well as a friendly match between the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs team and one made up of foreign diplomats, as in the previous tournament.
"Today's competition is fantastic," said Mr. Ser Sim, Project Manager from the Australian embassy, during a rest session. "It's my second time here and the event is much better organized. I really enjoyed it."
Dr. Bernard Coquelin, the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) Representative, readily concurs. But he says there is much more than competition.
"The purpose is the friendship and also partnership among all the diplomats," he explained, "And I think that is a more important message we should really put forward for all the international communities."
He said that he will definitely return if the tournament continues next year.
Chekunkov O.(2nd L) and Primak Vadim (L) from the Russian embassy play with Bambang (R) and Firdous from the Indonesian embassy during team's finals of the "2009 Diplomats' Table Tennis Tournament" at the Beijing Gymnasium, June 20, 2009.
Dr. Bernard Coquelin, the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) Representative, returns a shot during men's singles of the "2009 Diplomats' Table Tennis Tournament" at the Beijing Gymnasium, June 20, 2009.
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