Sedate start to 83rd Senior National TT Championships
By Our Reporter
SHILLONG April, 18: Following postponement by several months, the 83rd Senior National Table Tennis Championships finally kick-started with a record 450 paddlers including star paddlers Manika Batra, Sathiyan Gnanasekaran, Sutirtha Mukherjee and Achanta Sharath Kamal competing at the Sports Authority of India (SAI) Indoor Stadium, in the North-Eastern Hill University (NEHU) campus, on Monday.
Organised by the Meghalaya Table Tennis Association (MTTA), the tournament is scheduled to be held from April 18-25 and features a total of 38 teams in the men’s category and another 35 participating in the women’s category.
At the inaugural ceremony, a minute’s silence was observed in memory of Deenadayalan Vishwa, an 18-year-old table tennis player from Tamil Nadu supposed to compete in the championship, who died tragically in a car accident while travelling to Shillong from Guwahati, on Sunday.
The young paddler’s demise was condoled by the chief guest and Speaker of the Meghalaya Assembly, Metbah Lyngdoh, guest of honour and Sports and Youth Affairs Minister, Banteidor Lyngdoh and Meghalaya Table Tennis Association president, Robert G Lyngdoh.
The chief guest expressed his delight in seeing youths from different states and teams compete in the mega event.
“It was the success that Meghalaya has had in hosting other events that helped the Table Tennis Federation of India to grant this championship to the state and the credit has to go to the minister in charge, the Sports and Youth Affairs Department, the MTTA and others,” the Speaker said.
He further praised the MTTA for making the event possible adding, “The MTTA has organised two national and two international TT tournaments in the past and I believe the success of these championships has instilled confidence in the Table Tennis Federation of India (TTFI) to allow Meghalaya to host this event.”
He concluded by calling on all players to be role models for the youth of the country and serve the society as ambassadors of the sport.
Also present on the occasion were Director of Sports and Youth Affairs, Wanri Booth, Meghalaya State Olympic Association (MSOA) working president, John F Kharshiing, MSOA general secretary, Finely Pariat along with other MTTA officials.
The Sports and Youth Affairs minister meanwhile, offered his best wishes to the participating teams and players saying that the Government of Meghalaya has been working hard to promote sports in the state over the last three years and as a result, the championship is being held here “on our insistence.”
He further said that the Meghalaya Games is expected to be held in the month of May while the Northeast Olympics will be conducted before the end of the year.
Dozens of matches were held, with team events featuring on the first day. The Railway Sports Promotion Board (RSPB), Bengal A, Haryana, Petroleum Sports Promotion Board (PSPB), Maharashtra A, Tamizhaga Table Tennis Association (TTTA), Maharashtra B and Karnataka stood out after two rounds. However, a firm battle is expected among teams to occupy second place in their groups.
Following the national championship, 5-8 players each for both men and women’s categories will be selected to represent the country in future international tournaments.
Besides the four semi-finalists of the event, the remaining players will qualify based on points they have earned throughout the calendar year.