Teams gear up for premier championship
HA NOI — Ha Noi T&T table tennis club have strengthened their squad by signing two top players, Tran Tuan Quynh and Phan Huy Hoang from Ha Noi, on five-year contracts, team coach Vu Manh Cuong said yesterday.
These are the second transfers in Viet Nam after two-time Olympian Doan Kien Quoc moved from Khanh Hoa to the PetroVietnam in 2009.
"We hope that the newly signed players, left-handed red-hot player Quynh and skilful Hoang will take the team to the top four this year," Cuong told Viet Nam News.
"However, the team will face a stiff challenge against the youngsters from the Army and HCM City in the men's singles and team events," said team coach.
Earlier this year, the team included teenager Bui Trung Kien, who had graduated from the Ha Noi T&T table tennis centre, in the squad for the coming premier championship.
The team will compete in the men's singles, doubles and team events at the National Table Tennis Championship in the northern city of Hai Duong on April 18-24.
The Army team are still favourites, with national team members Dinh Quang Linh, Nguyen Thanh Luan in the men's division and Luong Thi Tam and Vu Thi Ha in the women's side.
HCM City top-form sisters Mai Hoang My Trang and Mai Xuan Hang are tough contenders in the women's singles and double events.
Meanwhile, PetroVietnam team revealed concerns about their squad.
"We plan to recruit young players on loan contracts because the team have only two players, Doan Kien Quoc and Nguyen Ngoc Thuan," moaned team coach Truong Thoi Nhiem.
"We have yet to establish a table tennis academy in Ha Noi, so, the team have to lure young players from other local training centres."
Nhiem said PetroVietnam, who were the second team in Viet Nam to be owned by a business, will compete in the men's singles and doubles event.
The Viet Nam Table Tennis Federation (VTTF) only allows teams to sign foreign players at international, not domestic tournaments.
"The Federation has not fully completed drafting the rules yet on club's professional status, so, teams won't use foreign players at the championship next month," said the federation's general secretary Pham Duc Thanh.
At the International Table Tennis Golden Racket Tournament, the federation allowed teams to sign two foreign players, but one would be restricted to either doubles or team events. — VNS