The inaugural zonal tourney successfully conducted by the newly constituted committee bodes well for the sport in the State
The Karnataka Table Tennis Association (KTTA) was in limbo for nearly half a decade. It dented the image of the game in the State. Hordes of talented youngsters were the victims of this impasse.
Since 1998, no elections were held in the State association. . District bodies attached with the State body were in a state of inaction.
Bangalore, which once played host to more than 18 tournaments, hosted only three or four major State-ranking events. The decline was all-pervasive. An attempt to organise a South Zone Championship was put on hold for the past two years. Early this year, the TTFI, the National federation helped recast the administrative set up in the State and created an ad-hoc body of the KTTA with K.S. Vasant Kumar as secretary and a sprinkling of State and national players such as T.S. Ram Kumar, Bona Thomas John and T.G. Upadhya.
The team has vowed to provide the impetus to ensure that the structure is established again. It conducted the inaugural zonal event — the National Ranking South Zone championship at the Sree Kanteerava indoor stadium recently. “Holding the South zone championship was a prestige issue for us. The successful conduct provides a great deal of satisfaction,” says Thomas.
Vasant adds, “We were given only 26 to 28 days to conduct the event. It was a tough task. If we had more time on our hands, we could have put up a much grander show.”
With it being the first tournament of the season and more importantly Bangalore being the venue, the entries came pouring in. Nearly 650 entries and five days to complete the tournament was a mammoth task but thanks to the threesome and with co-operation from the Table Tennis Federation of India (TTFI) observer, N. Ganeshan, everything went without a hitch.
“Initially, we faced some hiccups due to the large number of entries, as more tables had to be procured,” said Ram Kumar, a former State champion and the Joint Secretary of the ad-hoc body.C.P. Karthik and M.V. Spoorthy provided some captivating moments of play, but failed to advance beyond the pre-quarter-final stage.
Thomas, an international player andthe treasurer had been striving to put things straight even before the ad hoc committee was formed. “Elections are the foremost in our plans. We conducted this championship to show that the KTTA can still deliver. We need to carry forward the work.”
With the indoor stadium getting a face lift and air conditioners to be put in place, KTTA is making the right efforts to put the game back on track. . Table tennis has a rich tradition in the State with the likes of Usha Sunderraj (National women's champion ), Laxmi Karanth, Poorna Rao and Archana Rao among women and Kabad Jayant, Arun Kumar, Sai Kumar, C.R. Anand, Vasant Bharadwaj, Bona and Chetan Babboor emerging on the national and international arena at regular intervals.
With the successful conduct of the South Zone championship, the tables have been dusted and carpets rolled out. It is now up to the players to seize the moment and emerge successful.