The Sports Authority of Andhra Pradesh (SAAP) complex indoor stadium, Gachibowli, has been finalised as the venue of the Volkswagen World junior table tennis championships to be held from December 9 to 16. It was preferred to the Kotla Vijayabhaskara Reddy indoor stadium, Yousufguda.

The decision was taken over the weekend after the third and final inspection by a four-member panel. It comprised Raul Calin, Director, Global Junior Programme, International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF), Dhan Raj Choudhary, Secretary General, Table Tennis Federation of India (TTFI), the national body’s vice-president S.M. Sultan and the Tournament Director Ganeshan Neelakanta Iyer.

“The infrastructural blueprint of the event has been worked out, with players to stay in a hotel that’s a 10-minute drive from the venue,” Choudhary told The Hindu.

“Only housing the dozen practice tables presented a problem, but that’s been solved. They will be accommodated in the adjoining swimming pool arena,” he said.

“So are sites earmarked for the ITTF office besides lounges for athletes and media,” said the TTFI Secretary General. “Only on the opening day would the action begin at 10 a.m., otherwise commencing an hour earlier on the subsequent days.

“From the 11 tables initially, it will be scaled down to 8, 4, 2 and 1 for the finals, as the team individual events progress. Action from two tables would be telecast live by Doordarshan Sports.

The tournament logo is awaiting ITTF approval and the event will be inaugurated on December 8, a day before the action gets underway,” Choudhary added.

“Only the imported Joola tables would require customs clearance at Mumbai,” said S.M. Sultan. “The umpires’ panel will be announced on October 15. The ITTF has scheduled a meeting of the five continental heads on December 12, its executive committee meetings on the 13th and 15th, the day in between set aside for the junior commission to sit,” he added.

The week-long meet will decide seven world junior titles (boys and girls team events, boys and girls’ singles and doubles and mixed doubles).

Twenty boys and girls teams, including host India, qualify from continental quotas.

In addition, 14 players will be invited to compete in singles, doubles and mixed doubles, based on the under-18 world ranking list announced on September 5.

Should any of them not accept, the next-ranked player would be invited.

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