(by Steve Hopkins)
The ITTF Foundation worked with Ukrainian Table Tennis Federation officials to help get four Ukrainian players to the WTT Star Contender event that began on Friday in Doha. The players, Tetyana Bilenko, Ganna Gaponova, Yaroslav Zhmudenko, and Margaryta Pesotska were all in Europe (outside of the conflict zone in Ukraine). The ITTF assisted with flights and visas to help facilitate the travel.
The WTT Star Contender is under way – but none of those Ukrainian players has played yet. US fans will get to see one of these players in action on Sunday as Tetyana Bilenko is now scheduled to face Lily Zhang on Sunday. Pesotska will play Lee Ho Ching on Sunday. And Gaponova will play Britt Eerland. Each of these Ukrainian players was placed directly into the Main Draw (likely in part because scheduling prevented them from arriving in time to adequately prepare and enter the qualification rounds).
The ITTF Foundation has already approved funds to assist Ukraine’s table tennis community and many other European table tennis federations have offered to host Ukrainian players and to provide training facilities.
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