TTFI: We want our players to compete in all domestic events

One of India’s top paddlers, G. Sathiyan said he is all for playing in National-ranking tournaments, but a hectic International schedule this year has prevented him from doing it.

G. Sathiyan played only in the Inter-Institutional event this season.   -  S. Siva Saravanan

Table Tennis Federation of India issued a press release during the National- ranking (East Zone) table tennis tournament, stating its displeasure in players skipping ranking tournaments.

It said their absence “hurt the Federation as much as the organisers of domestic events, besides upsetting the balance in national ranking points, a key element of selection.”

“We want our players to compete in all domestic events. But when that doesn’t happen, we are obviously worried. We can understand a player not participating because of injury or circumstances that are really unavoidable. We are into framing new policies that we hope should arrest the irregularities,” said M.P. Singh, Secretary of Table Tennis Federation of India (TTFI).

One of India’s top paddlers, G. Sathiyan said he is all for playing in National-ranking tournaments, but a hectic International schedule this year has prevented him from doing it.

He played only in the Inter-Institutional event this season.

“World ranking is vital for the Indian team’s performance. We are looking at being in the Olympics and for that we have to be among the top 16 teams, and for that we need to focus on international events in the interest of the country,” he said.

According to Sathiyan, TTFI should have a dynamic system wherein if a player is in the top 50 [in the world] he/she should be given priority in the seedings.

“Two top 50 players scheduled to play in the quarters [in the Inter-institutional in Coimbatore this year, Sathiyan and Sharath Kamal were scheduled to play in the quarters] doesn’t make sense.Players in top 50 or even 60-70 should be given priority in the seedings and then preference should be given to the Indian rankings. They (TTFI) have done it before,” he said.

Sharath Kamal, India's star paddler, concurred largely with Sathiyan's views. He said players have to sit with TTFI and decide what tournaments (domestic) they should play.

Harmeet Desai said players who have a very good world ranking should be allowed to skip a few tournaments to focus on their training and leagues abroad.

"More importance should be given to International rankings," he said.

Arup Basak, who is part of the National coaches panel, was considerate to the top players while understanding the situation faced by TTFI.

At the worst, Basak said top paddlers can play in two or three zonals excluding National championships.

N. Ganesan, Competitions Manager, TTFI said this season except the first tournament (North Zone), seedings were given based on National ranking points and not on world rankings.

Meanwhile, the group matches in both men and women singles got underway.

Two qualifiers from each of 44 groups (men) and women (31) will join the 16 men and eight women seeded players, who have been given direct entry into the main draw.