Table Tennis stars inspire younger generation

Ahead of the clash between Maharashtra United and RP-SG Mavericks, A. Sharath Kamal, the stalwart, was involved in an intense discussion with a group of young paddlers from the city.

Sharath Kamal not only offered them tips on serving and receiving techniques, he also played with most of the 20 kids who had assembled for a clinic organised by Indian Oil, one of the co-sponsors.   -  Vivek Bendre

As Maharashtra United and RP-SG Mavericks squads arrived at the practice arena ahead of their clash in the CEAT Ultimate Table Tennis on Sunday, A. Sharath Kamal, the stalwart, was involved in an intense discussion with a group of young paddlers from the city. The eight-time national champion not only offered them tips on serving and receiving techniques, he also played with most of the 20 kids who had assembled for a clinic organised by Indian Oil, one of the co-sponsors.

At the same time, in the premises of the Shree Shiv Chhatrapati sports complex, coaches Ferenc Karsai, R. Rajesh and local UTT star Divya Deshpande conducted a clinic with 25 select players from Maharashtra. On Saturday, top India paddlers G. Sathiyan and Sanil Shetty also interacted and played with promising youngsters.

READ: UTT: Smashing outing for Batra, Sathiyan

The initiative, a first for UTT in its second edition, is helping the kids immensely to learn and interact with their idols. Besides, it also offers the top players an opportunity to witness talent at the grassroots level. “It's a superb initiative. I thoroughly enjoyed it. Nowadays, with the junior and senior events being held separately at the national ranking tournaments, not many of us can interact with or witness us in action, so hopefully, this clinic will help these youngsters technically and will motivate them to aim higher,” Sharath told Sportstar after the hour-long session.

Kamlesh Mehta, director of 11Sports, the promoter of the league, was confident that the league will sustain these clinics even in future. “One of the objectives of the league is to spread the table tennis movement. There can't be a better way to do it than to make the stalwarts interact with the younger generation. We wish to continue with such clinics at other venues and in the seasons to come," he said.