The Table Tennis Association of Kerala (TTAK) has taken a few steps to raise the profile of the sport and also strengthen the grassroots level.
“All the State teams will have a week-long coaching camp before the Nationals. And players will be paid third AC fare to travel for the Nationals. Except for veterans, all the State teams will be sponsored by the association,” said Padmaja S. Menon, who was elected as the new president of the TTAK a few months ago, in a chat with Sportstar on Saturday.
“A business house from Ernakulam has come forward to sponsor the State teams and we will be signing the agreement later this month. That should take off a lot of burden from the parents.”
There is also a plan to popularise the sport at the school level.
“We plan to start table tennis academies in all schools in the State. I was a State and university table tennis player earlier and this is my dream. I have spoken to a couple of chain schools, like Bhavan’s and CMI schools, and they have shown interest,” said Padmaja who is also a senior vice- president of the Table Tennis Federation of India.
“Other places, we are planning to get sponsors. This year, we can see a lot of academies coming up.”
There are also plans to send a few talented players to other States, which are strong in the sport, for specialised training or to bring top coaches to Kerala.
She felt the TTAK’s new decision to split the State championships at its executive committee meeting on Saturday will help players immensely.
“We had a lengthy discussion on that before we decided to have three different State championships. With fewer matches, players will be able to perform better. I feel the decision to split the State championships is a very good move.”