Ping-Pong Diplomacy returns

Rotterdam (Netherlands), May 10, 2011 - During the GAC GROUP 2011 World Table Tennis Championships currently taking place in Rotterdam, the international organization Peace and Sport and the International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF) announced a "Peace and Sport Table Tennis Cup" – a historic Table Tennis tournament aimed to encourage dialogue and good relations between nations – which will take place in Doha, Qatar on 21-22 November 2011.

Organized by the Qatar Tennis Table Association with the support of the Qatar National Olympic Committee, under the leadership of ITTF and the guidance of Peace and Sport, this is an unprecedented sports event that will break political tensions and unite nations in a way that only table tennis can.

Based on ‘Ping-Pong Diplomacy’, the famous event that provided the catalyst for US-China relations back in 1972, the Peace and Sport Table Tennis Cup will use the power and core values of sport as a driving force to promote peace and unity.

Onlookers will include key government officials and diplomats from each of the competing nations, fostering political communication and relations at the highest level.

The ten nations set to compete in this historic and first Peace and Sport Table Tennis Cup are:

- The People's Republic of China

- India

- The Islamic Republic of Iran

- Japan

- The Democratic People's Republic of Korea (North Korea)

- The Republic of Korea (South Korea)

- Pakistan

- Qatar

- The Russian Federation

- The United States of America

Elite players from the 10 represented countries will compete over two days. In the doubles events, partnerships will be created with representatives from different nations symbolising this ground-breaking initiatives objective. The ‘Peace and Sport Table Tennis Cup will witness teams composed of exceptional duos that will make an indelible mark on our memories and turn these athletes into genuine ambassadors of global peace.

Joel Bouzou, President and Founder of Peace and Sport, added: "Sport goes far beyond competitions and games. Many historic and recent examples demonstrate that it acts as a major political lever that can serve as a mediator in the international diplomatic arena. This is the driving ambition of this tournament which I hope will allow us to reach a stage where we can bury the quarrels of the past, encourage dialogue between certain countries and more globally, promote mutual understanding and peace. We are incredibly proud to be involved in this project that will make such an impact."

The ‘Peace and Sport Table Tennis Cup is the fruit of a long-term relationship between Peace and Sport and ITTF who jointly develop programs for peace promotion and peace education through table tennis in Colombia and Timor Leste.

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