Table Tennis: Emotional Nepal team struggle at World Champs (Video)
- Updated: April 27, 2015
April 27, 2015: The Nepal team competing at the Qoros World Championships in China struggled with the aftermath of Saturday night’s earthquake that has devastated their home country, leaving at least 3,000 dead as of Monday.
An earthquake of magnitude 7.8 struck Nepal the day before the World Championships in Suzhou started on Sunday, when Nepali players were competing while dealing with the news trying back home and fearing updates.
Elina Maharjan broke into tears after losing her first women’s doubles match in the qualification stage with teammate Nabita Shrestha.
“It’s hard to play,” Maharjan said. “I just pray that everyone is safe. Some people I know are hurt and some friends are dead. It’s very painful.”
Shrestha, 23, added: “It affected me, of course, because now there are 72 hours of critical condition. There could be another earthquake strike at any time and my parents and my family are staying outside in a tent, so it is quite difficult. My old house got destructed, but thank God nobody was sitting around there.”
Thomas Weikert, President of the ITTF, spoke with the Nepal team in the morning to send his condolences. “It’s really a tragic situation. I saw the pictures on television and it was really devastating. The ITTF family have our hearts with the Nepalese table tennis players and the whole nation as well,” Weikert said.
“We will look into this and see how ITTF can help them. Nepal is not a very rich country and does not have much equipment and resources, so we will definitely see how we can support them.”
Bulgarian star Vladimir Samsonov, Chair of the ITTF Athletes’ Commission, sent a message on behalf of all the world’s leading players.
“I heard that one of the Nepalese team members back home lost some of his family members to the disaster and we understand how devastating this whole situation is to him, the team and their country,” Samsonov said.
“On behalf of all the players competing here in Suzhou and table tennis players all around the world, I would like to show our support and send them our condolences.”
Source: ITTF (www.ittf.com); Editing by SportAsia