A record number of teams to participate in Senior Nationals

The 83rd Senior Nationals and Inter-State Table Tennis Championships will be held in Shillong from April 18.

FILE PHOTO: Manika Batra (left) and Sharath Kamal will be the top seeds in women’s and men’s singles, respectively.   -  BISWARANJAN ROUT

A record number of teams will participate in the 83rd Senior National and Inter-State Table Tennis Championships to be held in Shillong from April 18.

Thirty-eight men’s and 35 women’s teams have entered the fray, the largest ever in the history of Senior Nationals. The Petroleum Sports Promotion Board (PSPB) and the Railways Sports Promotion Board (RSPB) are the two institutional teams that made the cut as title winners in 2019.

The performance of teams at the Hyderabad Nationals became the yardstick to consider seedings.

The draws, using new software, were held by Justice (Retd.) Mukul Mudgal through a click of the mouse button at his residence in the presence of chairperson Justice Gita Mittal (Retd) and S. D. Mudgil (members of the Committee of Administrators (CoA) running the suspended TTFI), chief national coach Manjit Singh Dua, competition manager N. Ganeshan, and chief referee A. S. Kler.

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Chetan Mittal, the third member of CoA, joined the meeting from Chandigarh.

Top players of India who will be competing in the Nationals also joined the live draw ceremony. Of the 307 men and 243 women competing in singles, the top 16 in the men’s section and eight in women have been given direct entry into the main draw.

Those within the top 50 in world rankings will be given seedings for the tournament. Only three players - Sharath Kamal (No. 38), G. Sathiyan (39) and Manika Batra (48) - met the criteria and have been seeded accordingly.

The entries in men’s and women’s doubles have been limited to two per team - per gender for States and one each for the institutions, as has been the practice. However, in mixed doubles, four and two pairs, respectively, have been allowed. The paired events will be conducted on a knockout basis.

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