Children from orphanages No. 1 and No. 2 demonstrated their ping pong skills Sept. 5 during a competition coordinated by the Almaty international sports organizing committee, reported the committee’s press office.
While diverse sporting events are arranged for the youngsters on a regular basis, this was the first time table tennis was included in the mix. From the first minutes of the game, the young talents impressed the planners with their dexterity and skills.
“I do not consider myself a professional, but they play pretty well,” said Platon Kalinichenko, one of the organisers of the tournament. “I must say that a lot of talented guys have an easy flow and a keen eye and they might be worthy rivals even for the adults. The organising committee for international sports in Almaty has dealt with the children many times and we always try to pay special attention to them. We have a clear understanding that if today these guys get a taste of passion for sport, develop the will to win and learn how to love the sport, they will never step on the ‘slippery slope.’”
Thirty children took part in the match. From the first minutes of the game, Nikolai Tsaplin, a child from orphanage No. 2, took the lead.
“At home we have tables for playing ping pong and sometimes I play with the kids when I have enough time,” he said. “It was not easy today; there were a lot of strong competitors. I love sports; I dream of playing football for the national team. When I finish school, I will enter a sport university.”
Alisher Khabibuli took second place, and Nail Sagadinov from orphanage No. 1, was the bronze medalist.
“I rarely play ping pong and today I was playing for the third time in my life,” said Nail. “I guess I was lucky, because there were guys who have played a lot longer. I do love computer games and sometimes play football. When I graduate from high school, I will be a programmer.”
At the end of the tournament, all the children received Universiade2017-licensed products as prizes, withthe winners taking home trophies with symbols of the World Student Games.
The 28th World University Winter Games, featuring 13 sports, will be held Jan. 29-Feb. 8, 2017 in Almaty. More than 3,000 competitors from approximately 50 countries are expected to participate and about 80,000 delegation representatives, guests and sports fans from throughout the world will attend the event.
The Games will be broadcast by 100 TV channels and about 3,500 volunteers will be involved in the organisation.