The International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF) have set up a training camp in Qatar for the 29-strong Chinese team who are set to compete at the ITTF World Tour Platinum Qatar Open from March 3 to 8 as their country is being heavily affected by the coronavirus.
After the 2020 World Tour Platinum German Open in Magdeburg, the ITTF worked on relocating the team, giving them the opportunity to train ahead of the next leg of the competition.
The Qatar Table Tennis Association (QTTA) helped to arrange a high-quality training environment for the Chinese team with just a day’s notice.
This includes a 15 table set up, the best facilities for physical training, rehabilitation, medical equipment, meals and accommodation.
President of the Chinese Table Tennis Association (CTTA), Liu Guoliang expressed his gratitude to QTTA President and ITTF Deputy President Khalil Al-Mohannadi as well as ITTF CEO Steve Dainton.
“We are very grateful for all the assistance provided to us during this time of difficulty," said Liu.
"We didn’t expect that they could prepare the venue, tables and facilities for us within such a short period of time.
“We are always thinking of how we can help our brothers and sisters out.” This is what the #TableTennis family is all about 🙌🏓🙌— ITTF World (@ittfworld) February 11, 2020
Find out more how ITTF & @QTableTennis helped Team China 🇨🇳 train in Qatar 🇶🇦 👉 https://t.co/SiDKuChMyp pic.twitter.com/ZXts0RuB52
"The tables that we are using for training are those that will be used at the Qatar Open and the QTTA have even given us all two thousand balls 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.”
They also received many invitations from Germany, Austria and Japan among many others, choosing the facilities in Doha as it is set to host the next leg.
They will remain in the country after the World Tour leg ahead of the World Team Table Tennis Championships in Busan in South Korea from March 22 to 29.
“Everybody worked hard to find a good solution for our friends in China when we knew that the situation had become very difficult," said ITTF chief executive officer Steve Dainton.
"It was an amazing job for them to do this in such a short time and it doesn’t matter if it’s China or any other country, when there’s any big disaster or problem, we always try our best to help our brothers and sisters out."
This comes after the ITTF last week asked table tennis associations to provide medical equipment and protective gear to fight against the coronavirus.
QTTA President, Khalil Al-Mohannadi added, “When I heard about the coronavirus in China, our worry was that the Chinese national team would not be able to play at the Qatar Open.
"For me it is not the Qatar Open and not the World Championships without China and we are all part of the ITTF family and we are doing this as friends for the whole table tennis family.
"I need to thank the Government, the Aspire Academy, Aspetar and everyone else involved in the process - in just a few hours I got the answer that China could come to Doha."
World and Olympic champion Ma Long also thanked their hosts, in a place where he has had a lot of success.
"I won my first senior World Tour title here in Qatar and I have been crowned champion four times since, so there's a special connection with Doha", said Long.
"I pass on huge thanks to QTTA for providing us with such a good training environment.
"I will prepare well for the upcoming Qatar Open.”
More than 1,000 people have died so far due to the spread of coronavirus, with over 43.000 people infected.
China have faced many issues with hosting events in the country and being cleared to travel to other nations after many countries imposed strict travel restrictions against Chinese citizens or those travelling from China.