Global Sport Breaks New Boundaries For Peace

MONACO, ITTF Press Release: 10 nations have officially confirmed they will participate in the Peace and Sport Table Tennis Cup, an historic table tennis tournament conceived to encourage dialogue and reconciliation between nations, which will be held in Qatar on 21 – 22 November 2011 (Global Sport Breaks New Boundaries).

The 10 competing nations officially revealed today by Joel Bouzou President and Founder of Peace and Sport, are the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (North Korea), Republic of Korea (South Korea), People’s Republic of China, Japan, India, Pakistan, Russia, the United States of America (USA), France and hosts Qatar.

The tournament will last two days and boasts a prize fund of $100,000 for the winners. Organized by the Qatar Table Tennis Association, with support from the National Olympic Committee of Qatar, under the leadership of the ITTF and the guidance of Peace and Sport.

This unprecedented sports event aims to ease political tensions and unite nations through table tennis, a sport with a rich historical past of doing just that…In Qatar “Ping-Pong Diplomacy” returns.

“Ping-Pong diplomacy” refers to the visit by a U.S. table tennis team to China in 1971, in the midst of the Cold War, to play friendly matches. This event was the catalyst for U.S. President Nixon’s visit to China the following year, allowing the two countries to restore diplomatic relations.

Joel Bouzou, President and Founder of Peace and Sport said: “The first Peace and Sport Table Tennis Cup is set to be a great event! It will foster communication and political reconciliation at the highest level, since diplomats and government representatives from the 10 participating nations are invited to watch the tournament.

We are extremely proud to have succeeded in gathering together, under the banner of sport, countries that refuse to mix in other contexts. The neutral status of sport plays the role of mediator on the international diplomatic stage. This tournament will make a step to encourage dialogue between countries, to promote mutual understanding and peace.

For Adham Sharara, ITTF President, “This unprecedented event will forge bonds of friendship between the participating nations: The competition aims to promote world peace and we are proud that table tennis is the sport that is fully implemented in this cause.

The best table tennis champions from the participating 10 countries will compete amicably for two days, in men’s and women’s doubles matches with mixed-nation teams. The ‘Peace and Sport Table Tennis Cup’ will create unprecedented duos that will make a lasting impression on memories and make the athletes spokespeople for peace.”

The “Peace and Sport Table Tennis Cup” is the culmination of a long-term project between Peace and Sport and the ITTF to develop joint educational programs and promote peace through ping-pong in Colombia and Timor Leste.

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