The 2013 World Tour Grand Final of table tennis, which begins Thursday in Dubai, is "possibly the first visible benefit of Dubai sponsoring the Chinese national table tennis team," according to Jaydip Sengupta of XPRESS. The tournament, sponsored by Chinese carmakers Guangzhou Automobile Company, is a $1M affair and is "the richest in terms of prizemoney." It is being held outside China for the first time due to Dubai "stepping in to sponsor the Chinese national side." The city will host the top 16 men’s and women’s players from the 19 Int'l Table Tennis Federation World Tour events of '13 for the Grand Final. ITTF CEO Judit Farago said that Dubai "has already become a big player in table tennis in the middle-east." Farago: "When Dubai bid to host major tournaments last year, we were really interested and it doesn’t get bigger than this event, so we were happy for the city to host it. We have big plans for Dubai as the World Team Cup will also be hosted by the city most likely in early 2015" (XPRESS, 1/8).
Events and Attractions
The World Equestrian Festival in Aachen, Germany is no longer part of the Int'l Federation for Equestrian Sports' (FEI) jumping Nations Cup series. Michael Mronz, general director of the Aachener Reitturnier GmbH, the company responsible for the marketing activities of the CHIO Aachen, said the decision was made because of "substantive and financial reasons." As Aachen's replacement, Lummen, Belgium "has been moved into Europe Division 1 to make up the full complement of eight events in that division" (HORSE TALK, 1/9). ... The German Association of Equestrian Sports (FN) "is looking for a new host venue for the dressage Nations Cup in '15." The event "was supposed to take place in Lingen but due to financial reasons the dressage festival had to be canceled" (SID, 1/9). ... Int'l Cricket Council match referee and former Australian Test player David Boon said that "there is no guarantee the Twenty20 World Cup in Bangladesh will progress as planned." Boon: "Obviously the safety of players and administrators as it always has been is of paramount importance and the appropriate envoys will visit Bangladesh and they will make an assessment closer to the time whether the safety of players is an issue or not'' (MERCURY, 1/10). ... China's port city Qingdao on Wednesday "was confirmed as the third stop" of the 2014 Stadium Racing, the Extreme Sailing Series. Qingdao, which hosted the sailing event at the 2008 Beijing Olympics, will "welcome nine teams representing seven countries and regions" from May 1-4 (XINHUA, 1/9).