Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Season-ender could provide some thrills

Indore, February 4, 2013: All top-ranked paddlers of the country, barring Soumyajit Ghosh and HarmeetDeasi, will be seen in action in the 74th Junior and Youth National Table Tennis Championships that are getting underway at the Abhay Prashal Indoor Stadium here from Tuesday.
With the season that began last August coming to an end, the nationals here will give one final opportunity to the young paddlers to gain some ranking points that will go a long way in shaping their career the next season.

Understandably, over 400 junior and youth players will be representing nearly 30 state units besides taking part in the individual events that follow three days later to provide some thrilling moments to the season-ender.

Apart from the points that the players will pick here, they can also look forward to some monetary incentives to keep their cash registers ringing. The winner among the Youth boys and girls will receive Rs. 55,000 and 48,000, respectively, while in the Junior section, the boys’ winner will carry home Rs. 48,000 while the girls’ titlist will get Rs. 40,000.  There is something for all those who finish among the top eight with the total prize purse being Rs. 4.76 lakh.

PSPB are the teams to watch out for in the nationals here as they will look to retain the three crowns they won last year, if not go one better to claim all the four on offer. In fact, their boys and girls in the Youth section had made the challenge a one-sided affair at Siliguri. However, in the junior girls’ section, it was West Bengal who beat Tamil Nadu to claim the title.

The Petroleum’s Youth team will be without the services of Soumyajit Ghosh while Gujarat will have to do without Harmeet Desai. The two are in Sweden doing a training stint and have chosen to skip the event here. But more than the PSPB, Gujarat will feel the pinch as Desai could have played a vital role for the state.

The groupings for the championships, based on teams’ performance last year, not only indicate the current standing of the teams but also sound a warning to the rest in fray as others have a lot of catching up to do. Nevertheless, there are states like Tamil Nadu, North Bengal and Maharashtra who can always pose problems to even the best of teams, more so to the Petroleum squads.

With only top two teams qualifying for the main draw, teams have been divided into eight groups of four or three teams each. The team finals are slated for February 7, followed by the qualification matches in the individual sections in the evening on the same day. The boys and girls singles finals in both the sections will be played on Sunday, the concluding day of the championships.

The show here will be managed by chief referee C.L. Thade, who is an international referee. Incidentally, this will be his maiden event as chief referee.

The Madhya Pradesh Table Tennis Association, which has agreed to conduct the championships in place of Bihar, is known for its capability to do things even at short notice. Their skills and organizational capacity will be put to test once again.

A TTFI Press release

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