India's top paddlers give thumbs up to COA's reforms

The top players are largely satisfied with the few reforms undertaken by the Committee of Administrators (COA) ahead of the Senior National table tennis championships here from April 18 to 25.

While backing the changes, Sharath Kamal also pointed out some concerns too.   -  AP

There are sweeping changes in the air.

And the players, at least the top ones, are largely satisfied with the few reforms undertaken by the Committee of Administrators (COA) ahead of the Senior National table tennis championships here from April 18 to 25. 

The team events will be held from Apr. 18 to 21 while the individuals will be from Apr. 21 to 25.

The Delhi High Court suspended Table Tennis Federation of India (TTFI) in February 2022, and appointed COA to run/supervise the affairs of TTFI. 

To start with, what COA has done is make the draw 10 days in advance, which is not the norm. And then it has proposed a new table for world ranking and Indian ranking points selection.

If the player is ranked in the top 30 in the world, he/she gets 50 points, while ranked 31-50 gets 45 and 51-70 gets 40.

Those outside the top 200 get no points. As far as domestic points are concerned, if a paddler is ranked No.1 he/she gets 40, No.2 gets 36, 3-32, 4-28.  And the other proposal by COA is those with a world ranking of 50 & below can be directly selected to the Indian team optional to play domestic events.

And those between 51-60 can play at best one National—it can be either a Zonal or Nationals. India’s top three--Sharath Kamal, G. Sathiyan and Harmeet Desai--welcomed the changes sought by COA. “They have been done keeping the players’ in mind. It is fair and transparent,” they said.

On the flip side, Sharath said that by making the draw much in advance, there are chances that the draw can become lop-sided when a player opts out due to injury or other reasons.

Going for his 10th National crown, Sharath said the real feedback of the changes will be known once the events start.

Sharath further found loopholes in the world rankings getting preference over domestic in certain times. 

“There have been instances when young promising players couldn’t be included in the Indian team (even after SAI's clearance) because a few seniors, who were well past their prime, had better world rankings,” he pointed out.

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