Noshad Alamiyan is a well-known name in the table tennis community, among fans and players. The sympathetic 23 year-old is feared for his fantastic touch and is able to play left and right handed – sometimes switching within a rallye! With victories over Kenta Matsudaira (JPN) and Wang Liqin (CHN), he has gained popularity. But fewer people know that he has an equally sympathetic younger brother, whose life is closely connected to table tennis as well. We visited the brothers Alamiyan during their stay at the Werner Schlager Academy in Austria.
1.) How did you start playing table tennis – and who started first?
Noshad: I started first with table tennis. Nima: Our father, who was our coach, brought us to table tennis. We practiced every day and every week to get better.
2.) And which one of you is the better player ? 🙂
Noshad: Sometimes he wins, sometime I win the match. It’s like 50-50. But in the training he’s a little bit better in the games.
Nima: We know each other for such a long time, it is hard for both to surprise the other.
3.) How are talented players supported in Iran?
Noshad: Fortunately the International Table Tennis Federation enabled many camps and tournaments for us. The ITTF also build up the contact with the Werner Schlager Academy with the help of Afshin Badiee who is the Vice president of the Asian Table tennis federation. I was able to reach my best world raking with the help of the WSA. I won already against Tang Peng and Wang Liqin. One of my highlights was also the Olympic Games in London 2012 where I played against Timo Boll (last 32).
Nima: Our father and the family always supported us. You know, it’s not easy to support so many people in such a big country like Iran. The upcoming players get most of their help from the family. But there’s a great support for the national team. The junior players are taking part at the “ITTF Hopes Week”.
4.) Who are and who were your idols growing up?
Noshad: I never really had an idol. But if I’d have to choose one, I would pick Kalinikos Kreanga.
Nima: My favourite is Ma Long.
5.) How big is table tennis in Iran, are there leagues and clubs?
Noshad: Table tennis is actually quite popular in Iran. There are many clubs. I think the people like this sport more and more. International top level players used to play in our country: athletes like Chen Chien-an, Huang Sheng-Sheng or Segun Toriola. Some good Chinese and North Korean guys were also here. We hope that we’re able to continue with this level someday again and build up a strong league again.
Nima: Yes, it’s possible to live from table tennis in Iran. This sport has a long tradition in Iran. The level inside our country was already pretty good many years ago. And also some world class athletes were playing there.
6.) What about young players, who will be the next star in Iran?
Noshad: The ITTF tries to do as much as possible for us. I had the chance to go through the “Hopes Program”. Especially the grown up have the possibility to take part at some camps and courses. We rely on the parents and the family for our juniors. My father taught me how to play table tennis. This example also applies for our biggest hope Pourya Omrani. We could still improve if there are more subsidies. If our players had the chance to participate more often in international tournament, we could show our potential.
7.) What was your biggest success so far, and your best game?
Noshad: My biggest success was at the Asian Cup 2013 and to reach last 32 at the Olympics. And I also remember every well the World Junior Championships when I was able to beat Kenta Matsudaira from Japan and get first time a bigger attention from a wider public..
Nima: The Qatar Open, I think 5 years ago, were really good for me.
8.) You have a lot of fans worldwide and had the chance to visit many countries. Where did you like it best?
Noshad: Here (at the Werner Schlager Academy), because it’s the best place for practice and preparation. The camps in China are also not so bad.
9.) What are your strengths ?
Noshad: My best stroke is the backhand. I think my service isn’t bat either. Many players are asking me if I am right- or left handed. (laughs) My feeling for the ball isn’t that bad and I love to entertain the crowd.
Nima: The service and the forehand are my big weapons, but also topspin-topspin is a strength of my game. I able to play better than my current ITTF ranking is, if I am just able to play my game. But there’s still much work and practice to do!
10.) What do you do besides table tennis?
Noshad: I love to play soccer sometimes!
Nima: I love soccer too, but also on the Playstation..
11.) What are your future goals?
Noshad: We’d like to play as good as possible at the major events like the Olympic Games or the World Championships: We won against Italy and lost against India in Tokio (Japan) this year. So we failed to get further in the tournament because of a worse set percentage. We are very close to belong to the best 24 Nations worldwide. To reach that, and to participate at the Olympic Games are our biggest goals.
Nima: My goal is to get into the Top 100 of the ITTF world ranking.
12.) Is there something you want to tell your fans?
Noshad: Best regards to you, and thank you for your support! If you like table tennis, practice it as often as possible.
Nima: Just practice, practice and practice!
Want to see the brothers in action and witness their amazing touch for the ball?