The Government of Dubai has agreed to extend its groundbreaking sponsorship of the Chinese Table Tennis Association until 2017.
Under the extended three-year deal, Dubai branding will appear on all of the Chinese national team’s official tracksuits for the first time, in addition to the team’s official shirts, promotional material and signage.
The agreement will cover the men’s, women’s and junior teams in domestic and international events.
Dr Ahmed Al Sharif, secretary general of Dubai Sports Council, said the agreement is a world-first in any sport where a city has sponsored another nation’s team. He added: “With this sponsorship, thanks to sport’s unique ability to cut across national boundaries, we have further connected the people of China and Dubai, promoting a deeper, mutual understanding while also supporting the growth of table tennis in the Middle East, launching a grassroots initiative to inspire greater levels of participation across Dubai.”
China is a major force in table tennis with the current International Table Tennis Federation World Rankings dominated by Chinese players.
Ma Long is rated as the best male player in the world with fellow countrymen Xu Xin, Zhang Jike, Wang Hao and Fan Zhendong making up the top five. Seven of the top-10 women’s players are also from China, including the top-ranked female player Liu Shiwen.
The extended deal was facilitated by the Falcon and Associates advisory company.