Colourful start to Senior National TT championship

Cuttack, Jan 4:  The Senior National Table Tennis Championships-2018 kicked off to a colourful start in a jam-packed Jawaharlal Nehru Indoor Stadium here on Friday.

Around 4,000 fans witnessed the inaugural ceremony and shared the glory of one of the biggest sporting spectacle here in Cuttack.

The ceremony opened with a March Past by the participants led by the ceremonial Police Band.

Minister, Electronics & IT, Sports & Youth Services Chandra Sarathi Behera inaugurated the National Championships and spoke about the State Government’s commitment towards development and promotion of sports in the State of Odisha.

“The State Government will promote the Table Tennis as one of the sports,” he said.

On this occasion, he also shared his vision on grassroots development of Table Tennis sport in the State with the introduction of the sport and its related infrastructure at the district and block levels including setting up of a High Performance Academy of Table Tennis in the state.

Additional Chief Secretary MSME LN Gupta and President OSTTA said that the six-day prestigious sporting extravaganza is being held in Odisha after a gap of 18 years, with the last one being held in 2001.

The championships, which is being organised by the Odisha State Table Tennis Association under the aegis of Table Tennis Federation of India, is the largest so far with around 630 players (including men & women, team and individual players) from 37 teams from all over the country in action.

Around 100 officials have been deputed by the Table Tennis Federation of India (TTFI) to conduct the matches.

 The event will feature table tennis icons and players who have made India proud in the 2018 Gold Coast Commonwealth Games and Guangzhou Asian Games.

They include Manika Batra (first Indian woman to win CWG Gold in a women’s singles event and also the first Indian to win Breakthrough of the Year award by ITTF), Mouma Das (Arjuna awardee/Olympian), Sutirtha Mukherjee (India No.1), Archana Kamath (India No.2), Madhurika Patkar, Divya Deshpande,Ankita Das (Olympian), Pooja Sahasrabudhe (All top-10 ranked players).

 In the men’s event, the star attraction will be Gold Coast CWG Gold medallists Achanta Sharath Kamal (world rank-30), G. Sathiyan (world rank–31), Harmeet Desai, Anthony Amalraj, Sanil Shetty and Manav Thakkar (all of them are within top 100 in world ranking).

Speaking on the occasion Advisor, Table Tennis Federation of India (TTFI) Dhanraj Choudhury mentioned that this edition of the National Championships is the largest ever in terms of the number of participants and the best organised Nationals to ever take place.

He stated the All India TT Federation will depute a permanent coach to Odisha and support setting up of a High Performance Table Tennis Academy in Odisha.

Secretary Sports & Youth Services Vishal Dev stated that the state government is committed to the promotion of sports and will make all out efforts to spread the game to the field level.

There will be two types of competitions – Inter-state Championships and Individual events.

The Inter-State Championships will be a team event. All the State and institutions will participate in both men’s and women’s team events, which will commence from January 4 and conclude on January 6.

The individual event in Men’s and Women’s category will commence from January 6 to conclude on the evening of January 9, followed by the Prize Giving Ceremony.

‘Olly,’ which has been the mascot of all major sporting events in Odisha, was star attraction at the venue during the inaugural ceremony of the 80th Senior National & Inter-State Table Tennis Championships-2018

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