TTFI plans to focus only on National championships

The Table Tennis Federation of India (TTFI) is contemplating deferring all National-ranking tournaments for 2020-21.

TTFI feels that it is impossible to restrict the number of participants, including officials, to below 200 in national-ranking events. (FILE PICTURE)   -  Jignesh Mistry

The Table Tennis Federation of India (TTFI) is contemplating deferring all National-ranking tournaments and focus only on three National championships separately for seniors, juniors and youth and sub-juniors and cadets for 2020-21 to ensure that the annual calendar doesn't go blank.

TTFI’s senior vice-president, S.M. Sultan, told Sportstar that it is next to impossible, as per the COVID-19 guidelines, to restrict the number of participants including officials to below 200 in national-ranking events which otherwise normally feature about 1500 including players, support staff and technical staff during the five-day competitions.

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“Since it is not feasible in the current scenario to have these national-ranking tournaments in all five zones of the country, we are planning to have the National championships only for men and women and even discarding the Inter-state events which are otherwise normally held during a Senior National,” he explained.

TTFI’s senior vice-president, S.M. Sultan.   -  Special Arrangement

Usually, the senior Nationals are held early in the year. “So, we are hopeful of hosting these events in January-February, next year. The whole idea is to see that the year 2020 doesn’t end without any National champion in both men and women sections,” said Sultan.

The International Table Tennis Federation was scheduled to meet on June 30 to finalise the calendar, but the meeting was cancelled.  “Even while hosting the Nationals only for men and women, we will be restricting the number of entries and will not entertain any additional entries because of the current crisis” he said. “And all the three Nationals are being planned in three different centres with all safety guidelines in place.”

The state associations are suggested to follow a similar pattern. ”These are challenging times and we need to work as a team to rise to the occasion and come up with practical solutions to the crisis,” Sultan said.

“I don’t think it will be difficult for the TTFI, headed by Mr Dushyant Chautala, to face any challenges in organising events as and when the pandemic ends,  given the expertise and experience it has shown over the years in addressing issues be it from hosting a sub-junior national to any international event,” he concluded.

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