A. Joseph Antony

HYDERABAD: With sponsorship hard to find for non-cricket sports, the Krishna District Table Tennis Association has hit upon a scheme to sustain competition in its area, with support sourced from friendships forged across the table.

K. Balram Prasad, the architect of the programme, got in touch with former players of the game settled in the United States.

Patrons were identified, each of whom would contribute $2,500 to set up a corpus fund, the interest from which would be used to hold tournaments every year.

The sponsors

They are Dr. Chandrasekhar Yalamanchili, P. Chakravarthy, Achanta Ramabrahmam, Dr. Venkatesh Movva, Ramakrishna Bobba, Dr. Hari Karanam, Hari Pallempati, Srinivas Koneru, Guru Polavarapu, Aluru Sreedhar and Chavali Gopi.

Initially, there was a plan to name the event the NRI (Non-Resident Indian) tournament, but it was shelved when expectations soared on various counts, such as air passage for participants, Balram recalled.

Backing Balram fully in this venture were B. Uday Kumar, P. Viswanath, K. Jayaram, B. Anil Babu and S.M. Sultan, all friends based in Vijayawada, the last-named gent also a vice-president with the Table Tennis Federation of India (TTFI).

Help came not just in cash but in kind too, Dr. Chandrasekhar donating a ball-spraying robot. Cynergy Per4mers, a Chennai-based group, contributed Rs. 50,000 per annum to support three players from financially weak backgrounds.

This year, the beneficiary of the scheme will be the Stag A.P. State table tennis championship 2007 to be held at the DRMC Indoor Stadium, Vijayawada from November 11 to 14.

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