The Global Junior Circuit Final and Cadet challenge 2010, set to open at the Kotla Vijaya Bhaskar Reddy indoor stadium here on November 1, appears already afflicted by Monday morning blues.

A title sponsor still remains elusive for the International Table Tennis Federation's (ITTF) premier event that determines the world junior rankings, as time runs out and the D-day approaches.

“A public sector unit and a private sports management firm have expressed interest and we are hoping for the best,” Tournament Director S.M. Sultan told The Hindu on Thursday. “The ITTF will put up the $36,000 prize money and our expenses are likely to be Rs. 50 lakh,” added the Table Tennis Federation of India (TTFI) Vice President and Andhra Pradesh Table Tennis Association (APTTA) Secretary.

The world's finest paddlers, 16 boys and as many girls, under 18 and 15 years of age, will compete in what is the culmination of 25 tournaments held across the world this year, which had 90 nations in the fray. Team championships will be on an inter-continental format.

Individual events

Top rankers from 33 nations will also figure in individual competitions commencing from November 5 that features the host nation's Soumyajit Ghosh and Ankita Das.

It's a homecoming of sorts for the event, since the Global Junior Programme was launched in India at the turn of the millennium.

Whether Hyderabad could host an event of this magnitude was examined by the ITTF's Global Junior Programme Director Raul Calin, who personally inspected the venue and hotel accommodation on February 24.

The hunt for sponsors began in April itself, right after the ITTF's green signal came.

“When we approached them, most corporate houses felt squeezed by cricket and the recently concluded Commonwealth Games.

The ITTF deliberately opted for Hyderabad over Delhi, despite just about a fortnight's gap between the two events,” said Sultan.

Equipment support

Equipment support for the week-long extravaganza comes from German manufacturer Joola supplying the tables, Butterfly of Japan the 40-mm balls and Stag International, the Terraflex floor mat.

The Andhra Pradesh government is providing the venue free of cost.

Piecemeal sponsorship has come from the State Bank of India, State Bank of Hyderabad, Life Insurance Corporation, Vizag Steel and Agrigold.

A seasoned organiser of such events since the 1997 Commonwealth Championships here, Sultan said only a grant of Rs. 18 lakh from the A.P. Government could bail out the host well after the 2002 Asian junior championships were held at the same venue.

Expensive hospitality

“Hospitality will prove most expensive with the ITTF firm on at least three-star accommodation for 150 guests directly connected to this event,” he concluded.

Keywords: ITTF

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