A boost for the game

K. Shamini and Soumyajit Ghosh with the singles trophies.-

In a maiden step, an inter-institutional table tennis event was hosted in a district and the crowd and the players alike lapped up all. By Avinash Nair.

As has been the norm in recent times, the Petroleum Sports Promotion Board (PSPB) swept all the titles that were there for the taking. But the 43rd inter-institutional table tennis championship had quite a few ‘firsts’ too.

In a maiden step, an inter-institutional table tennis event was hosted in a district and the crowds and the players alike lapped it up. The District Sports Complex at Dharwad in Karnataka wore a festive look throughout the six-day event. Over 2500 spectators thronged the arena to witness the cream of India paddlers, barring A. Sharath Kamal, in action. For the first time in the Indian table tennis history, live streaming of the matches, played on court one, was shown on Stag-TV.

LIC, the main sponsor, surely could not have bargained for more. Its band of trusted workers/volunteers — led by T.G. Upadhya, former sports secretary, LIC Sports Promotion Board — left no stone unturned for the success of the event. Cash awards of Rs.3,32,400 were given away.

It was PSPB all the way, with Soumyajit Ghosh and K. Shamini walking away with the men’s and women’s singles crowns respectively.

PSPB, with its rich pool of talent, clinched all the titles. It found the men’s team championship a wee-bit tough before prevailing over the Bona Thomas-coached Railways Sports Promotion Board (RSPB).

Shamini, who has won the national women’s singles title three times, was mighty pleased.

“This is my maiden singles title at the inter-institutional championship and I am happy with this effort as it’s for my employers who have encouraged me at every step. I will remember long this title and this place,” said Shamini, the 25-year-old Indian Oil officer from Chennai.

Soumyajit Ghosh, World No. 153 and last year’s national title winner quelled the challenge from A. Amalraj, also from PSPB, in the final. Ghosh also praised the concept of taking the tournaments to the second tier cities so as to get the crowds back to the venues.

Dhanraj Choudhary, the Secretary General of the TTFI, lauded the organisers for the splendid effort to make the championship a grand success.

THE RESULTS(FINALS)

Men: Singles: Soumyajit Ghosh (PSPB) bt. A. Amalraj (PSPB) 11-9, 5-11, 11-9, 11-9, 11-6; Doubles: Sourav Saha & Sathiyan (PSPB) bt Jubin Kumar & Amalraj (PSPB) 8-11, 11-8, 12-10, 12-10.

Women: Singles: K. Shamini (PSPB) bt. Poulomi Ghatak (PSPB) 11-7, 11-1, 11-8, 11-2; Doubles: Shamini (PSPB) & Madhurika Patkar (PSPB) bt Ankita Das & Reeth Rishya (PSPB) 11-9, 11-5, 11-5.

Mixed doubles: Sanil Shetty & Manika Batra (PSPB) bt Jubin Kumar & Neha Aggarwal (PSPB) 11-8, 11-9, 13-11.

Team event: Men: PSPB bt RSPB 3-0; Women: PSPB bt AAI 3-1.