Thursday, July 10, 2014

Tony Abboud


   Tony Jabra Abboud is considered the father of modern table tennis in Palestine, he was a promoter and organizer for this game. Born in Jaffa in 1927, he started playing table tennis at Nadi al-Antwani (Anthony) in Jaffa, then at East- Jerusalem YMCA . He was one of the best table tennis players in Jordan (when the West Bank was annexed to Jordan 1951-1967). After 1948, he worked with UNRWA. He witnessed the YMCA which was established in 1948 in a tent in Aqabat Jaber Refugee Camp near Jericho. [1]
As a result of the war and the subsequent Israeli occupation in 1967 (in addition to the absence of national leadership, the lack of international support, and the desperate situation of youth), a sort of “sports Intifada” erupted through individual initiatives by some clubs and associations led by the East- Jerusalem YMCA, which assumed the role of ministry of youth and sports for a time and became the meeting place for the West Bank Federation and other sports institutions.  We could say that Palestinian sports experienced its golden era between 1968 and the late 1980s. [2] During the seventies and eighties, the YMCA sports programs and activities were at their peak.  Abboud was the secretary of the athletic committee in East-Jerusalem YMCA until mid-1980’s.   He was a successful coach and an excellent administrator.

Tony Abboud (in the Middle) with Kamil Naser (left) honoring Hisham al-Wa'ri at the East Jerusalem YMCA in early 1980's

  In 1980, Rabitat al-Andiya was established; it included all clubs from all areas in the West Bank.  Abboud was a member at the committee of table tennis (with Khalid al-Sayyed, Rasim Yunis, Ma’in Hafez and Amid al-Masri). He was one of the organizers of the first, second and third tournaments of table tennis which were held in the West Bank in 1984, 1985, 1986 respectively. He took part as a referee at these and other tournaments. In 1968, Abboud began working as an editor for the sports column in the al-Quds (Jerusalem) newspaper. He held this job for several years.


    Later, he became a counselor of the De La Salle basketball team in Jerusalem from 1991 until his death in May 1998. He accompanied the team during its trips to Jordan and France. He died on May 20th 1998, one week after honoring champions of a table tennis tournament in Ramallah, and celebrating the twelfth anniversary of his beloved club De La Salle in Jerusalem. 


[2] Wasef Daher. Sports History in Palestine, This Week in Palestine, June, 2008.

No comments:

Post a Comment