Associations unite but divisions remain in Bengal table tennis

The new entity will be named the Bengal State Table Tennis Association (BSTTA), which was formally announced in presence of a Table Tennis Federation of India (TTFI) observer on Friday.

Despite the amalgamation there will be two state championships, with the affiliated units of the erstwhile bodies continuing in the same order. (Representational Image)   -  Getty Images

The two table tennis associations in Bengal – the North and West –resolved to come together and form a unified body like the one existing before 2005, before the bifurcation happened. The new entity will be named the Bengal State Table Tennis Association (BSTTA), which was formally announced here in presence of a Table Tennis Federation of India (TTFI) observer on Friday.

Despite the amalgamation there will be two state championships, with the affiliated units of the erstwhile bodies continuing in the same order. “The TTFI, at the behest of the Indian Olympic Association and Ministry of Sports, decided in its last AGM (March 17, 2019) to have one state one association. The amalgamation process is a result of that,” said Arun Banerjee, the treasurer of TTFI who oversaw the unification process.

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The process of unification also failed to totally obliterate the divide as it was decided to have two teams from Bengal in the Nationals with West Bengal contributing in formation of Team A (four players) while the North Bengal players will represent Team B (four players). “There will be another 16 players from the state who will be selected purely on their current national rankings,” said Banerjee.

The proportionate representation in the newly formed BSTTA will be in a 70-30 ratio with the bigger West Bengal unit contributing with six members in the executive committee, while North will have three. “With Bengal contributing so many players, we have acted in the best interest of the state and ensured that the unification does not curtail the number of players playing the nationals,” said TTFI secretary general M.P. Singh.