The eighty-odd students of the Delhi Public School here will perhaps remember Monday for long, as they were introduced to Table Tennis in a novel manner by the game’s administrators. No wielding of the racquet, no serve and smash. Just watch and dabble with the attractive orange balls was the concept.

The innovative idea of Andhra Pradesh Table Tennis Association under the stewardship of Mr. S.M. Sultan in familiarizing the game among the young ones, is gaining ground in city schools. The inaugural week-long session of this kind of training was held at N.S.M. Public School a couple of months ago.

“The robot (the ball spraying machine) is the major attraction among the kids. The automated machine fixed to a table sprays the ball at a rapid speed, allowing a player to practice without a partner. Children love to see the ball emanating from the mouth of the machine like a bullet,” said Mr. Sultan.

“This idea would work wonders, as at least a dozen children may take up the game seriously in the future,” Mr. Sultan hoped.

The kindergarten children were made to sit and watch their seniors making merry with the balls, racquets and the robot, while some Class X students ventured to strike the ball with the racquet on the table. “This introduction session will be held for a week. Later, the APTTA and Krishna District Table Tennis Association will conduct similar sessions in schools like V.P. Siddhartha Public School and Nirmala High School,” said senior coach Balasubrahmanyam.

The school authorities are utilizing the one-hour physical education classes to enable their students to get close to table tennis.

“We also would like to utilize the activity hour from 4 p.m. to 5 p.m.,” Mr. Balasubrahmanyam said.

Mr. P. Hanumantha Rao, chairman of P.H.R. Invent Educational Society, the franchisee of Delhi Public School, exhorted the students to emulate national paddler from the city - K. Spoorthi of VPS Public School, who won medals for Andhra Pradesh in the cadet Nationals.

“We should get the spoorthi (inspiration) from Spoorthi and learn the game in a committed manner, which is very popular in the country. With the support of the KDTTA and the APTTA, we will reach new heights in the game,” he said.

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