The third edition of the 11Sports Inter-School Table Tennis National Championships being jointly organised by 11Sports and Andhra Pradesh Table Tennis Association, under the auspices of Table Tennis Federation of India, gets underway here at the DRRMC Indoor Stadium on Thursday, with over 320 winners from 22 states vying for various team and individual titles.
In the first phase of the Championships held in August, more than 3,000 school kids from 940 schools in 25 states competed, making it one of the largest table tennis initiatives at the grassroots level.
Among other rising stars, India’s No. 1 and No. 5 in Cadet Girls – Suhana Saini (Haryana) & Vartica Bharat (Uttar Pradesh), and No. 3 and No. 5 in Sub-Junior Girls – Nithyashree Mani (Tamil Nadu) and Vanshika Bhargava (Delhi) will be the players to watch out for.
On the boys’ side, India No. 5 and No. 8 in Cadet Boys – Tejas Narang (Delhi) & Balamurugan M. (Tamil Nadu) and No. 5 and No. 16 in Sub-Junior Boys Yashansh Malik & Satyam Gupta (PSPB) and No. 21 in Junior Boys Wesley Rosario (Goa) will be seen in action.
The winners in each of the four categories — Senior Boys, Senior Girls, Junior Boys and Junior Girls – will be richer by Rs 25,000 (team) and Rs 10,000 (individual) for the first time in the tournament. The runners-up and the semi finalists can also look forward to pocketing handsome cash awards. The total prize money in the Tournament is Rs. 3.08 lakhs.
“Our aim is to build the sport from the ground up so that India produces truly world-class TT players in the near future,” Kamlesh Mehta, Arjuna Awardee and Director in 11Sports said. “We hope to reach 5,000 schools soon so that we can tap young talent while also giving them the right platform to take up the sport,” he added.
About 20 players from each of the top table-tennis states, including Andhra Pradesh, Delhi, Goa, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Telangana and Uttar Pradesh will be seen in action at the DRRMC Indoor Stadium.
The tournament will be played on a league-cum-knockout format in both the Team and Individual events, with not more than 3 or 4 teams/individuals in each group. All matches will be decided by best of five games.
A special workshop for players and coaches will also be held during the tournament to educate them about the latest developments in the sport and even how to select the right equipment. Two Stiga directors from Sweden, the equipment partner, will be conducting it.