Jan 21, 2014: World number one table tennis players Ma Long and Liu Shiwen joined an elite list of world number one sport stars, including Roger Federer, Andre Agassi, Novak Djokovic, Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy, by participating in the first ever table tennis face-off on the Burj Al Arab helipad.
Located 212 meters above sea level, the Burj Al Arab helipad was transformed into a table tennis arena for this world’s first. Ma Long and Liu Shiwen were joined by World and Olympic Champions Zhang Jike and Li Xiaoxia, for an intense and exhilarating match.
World number one Ma Long, who was the runner up at the GAC Group World Tour Grand Final in Dubai stated: “It was a great privilege for me and my teammates to follow in the footsteps of sporting greats like Roger Federer and Tiger Woods. Playing on the Burj Al Arab helipad was an unforgettable experience and the view of Dubai was incredible.”
Li Xiaoxia, who was crowned “2013 Female Table Tennis Star presented by Vision Magazine Dubai” at the ITTF Star Awards held in Dubai added: “It was very fun! Although it was high up, it didn’t feel scary, just very windy. It was certainly an unreal experience”
The private helipad of Burj Al Arab has proven to be a magnet for world sporting greats. Much like these sports stars, Burj Al Arab has many number ones to its name: World’s Most Luxurious Hotel, world’s largest atrium (big enough to fit the Statue of Liberty inside), world’s highest staff-to-suite ratio (8:1), world’s largest butler brigade and the world’s tallest all-suite hotel.
On the evening of the table tennis challenge, a special message –“China – Dubai: one energy” – was projected on to the Burj Al Arab sail to celebrate the growing ties between the Emirate and China.
The Chinese National Table Tennis Team has been sponsored by Dubai since January 2013 in an agreement facilitated by Falcon and Associates. —- ITTF/ Photo by Naim Chidiac, courtesy of Falcon and Associates