Guests at Dubai Week in China were treated to an all-action display by members of China’s world-beating National Table Tennis Team during an evening in celebration of China and Dubai’s sporting partnership
Rio 2016 gold medalists Zhang Jike and Li Xiaoxia, performed a series of trick shots, and posed for pictures with guests alongside fellow Rio 2016 Olympic Games gold medalist Chen Long, winner of the 2014 BWF Dubai World Superseries Finals, and Ryder Cup star Rafa Cabrera-Bello, a Dubai resident currently competing in the 2016 World Golf Championships-HSBC Champions in Shanghai.
The evening, co-hosted by Dubai Sports Council and Falcon and Associates at The House, in Shanghai’s Xintiandi dustrict, gave guests the opportunity to learn more about Dubai’s credentials as a world-class sport destination, as well as its increasing significance to China’s own sporting ambitions.
“Dubai and China’s partnership spans many sports, from badminton to golf, aquatics, tennis and cycling, among others. Table tennis, of course, is a great example of us working together through our groundbreaking sponsorship of the Chinese National Table Tennis Team since 2013, a clear sign of Dubai’s commitment to China, as well as our passion for sport,” said His Excellency Saeed Hareb, Secretary General, Dubai Sports Council, addressing government officials and sports industry stakeholders.
“We always enjoy playing in Dubai,” said Zhang Jike, who competed in the emirate at the 2013 ITTF World Tour Grand Finals, the 2014 ITTF World Team Cup and the 2016 Nakheel Asian Cup. “The atmosphere is great – there are over 200,000 Chinese living in Dubai and they really get behind the team,”
Jike also praised the city’s grassroots initiative, Ping Pong Dubai. “It is amazing to see how the programme has introduced thousands of new players to the sport,” he said.
Also in the spotlight was golf, which HE Saeed Hareb explained is a strategic focus for Dubai. “It is wonderful to be here in Shanghai at the same time as the 2016 World Golf Championships-HSBC Champions, a highlight tournament in the European Tour’s Race to Dubai that also includes the Shenzhen International, Volvo China Open, and the Omega Dubai Desert Classic. It climaxes in Dubai from 17-20 November at the DP World Tour Championship, an incredible event that is testament to the ability of Dubai – and our young population of more than 200 nationalities – to welcome and host the world.”
Football fans were also given the opportunity to have their pictures taken with the Emirates FA Cup, thanks to Dubai Week in China Supporting Partner Emirates Airline.
Football is growing in significance in the UAE, with the country set to host the 2019 AFC Asian Cup, the region’s largest tournament, and one that presents myriad commercial prospects too.
“Chinese investment in Dubai is significant already, continued His Excellency. “The event offers great potential, with opportunities across sponsorship and infrastructure developments, such as the 60,000-seater Mohammed bin Rashid Stadium to be built by 2021.”