Special Adviser Wilfried Lemke Attends ITTF's 2011 Qatar ‘Peace and Sport’ Cup in Doha23 November 2011
hands at the 2011 Qatar Peace and Sport Cup
Doha, Qatar (UNOSDP) – The ITTF Qatar ‘Peace and Sport’ Cup was the site for “Ping Pong Diplomacy version 2.0" as ten National Associations paired up for doubles play in the aim of building friendship and engaging peace.
Wilfried Lemke, the United Nations Secretary-General’s Special Adviser on Sport for Development and Peace, spoke to the distinguished guests of the Cup at the official welcome dinner. The competition is a two-day doubles tournament involving ten National Associations that are paired up with each other to provide the backdrop for an event highlighting the theme of promoting peace and new friendships.
His Excellency Sheikh Saoud Bin Abdulraman Al-Thani, Secretary General of the Qatar National Olympic Committee (QNOC), preceded Mr. Lemke in addressing the gathering, followed by Joël Bouzou, President and Founder of Peace and Sport, and Adham Sharara, President of the International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF).
While speaking to the audience, Mr. Lemke emphasized how something very special was taking place in Doha with so many nations attending to compete together and leave political ideologies, religious intolerance and disputed territories off the table and to focus on building peace and friendship. Mr. Lemke declared: “Forty years ago we saw the power of sport to bring people together at a time of great tension. Today, tensions exist around the world and with remarkable events like this one, we continue to show the potential of sport as a vehicle for peace”.
At the conclusion of his speech, Mr. Lemke asked Ryu Seung Min, a player from the Republic of Korea, and Kim Hyok Bong, his counterpart from the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, to step forward to shake hands on the podium and have their photograph taken with him. In the Men’s Doubles event, the two played in the same team, whilst in the counterpart Women’s Doubles competition, Kim Kyung Ah (Republic of Korea) joined forces with Kim Song (Democratic People’s Republic of Korea).