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Age issue hits Delhi table tennis again

sports Updated: Jun 04, 2008 23:07 IST
Ajai Masand

In what probably hints at a nexus between schools and the various state sports associations, a Class V student of Mata Jai Kaur Public School was allowed to participate in the local Hansraj Table Tennis tournament despite the fact that a big question mark hung over her original date of birth.

Two school certificates in possession of HT — and duly signed by the principal of the Mata Jai Kaur Public School, George Jacob — show that the girl, Aastha Malhotra, has 'two' dates of birth --- 18/10/96 and 18/2/1997. Incidentally, the girl reached the final of the tournament.

The Delhi Table Tennis Association (DTTA) secretary Hukam Singh said he was aware of the fact, adding that, "I had a talk with the principal who said the certificate provided to the DTTA was correct. The school clerk had committed a mistake (in one of the certificates)," said Singh, against whom the top Delhi state players had revolted in 2006 alleging rigging of draws, allowing overage players to participate in tournaments among other things. The school principal was unavailable for comments.

No equipment, no food

It has also come to notice that the DTTA didn't provide the players with basic amenities like table tennis balls and refreshments during the age-group and senior camps for the national championships held in Chennai, Indore and Siliguri this year, despite the fact that association gets grants for the same from the Delhi government.

“Records show that the DTTA 'incurred' expenses of around Rs 30,000 on the camps held in December 2007 and January 2008.

A defiant Singh said that all the basic amenities were provided, but the director (sports) of the school where the camps were organised stated otherwise. "Yes we hosted camps before the nationals. But we didn't get any directive from the DTTA (for providing refreshments and TT balls).

“There is a set format for camps whereby a requisition is made and signed by three members. But this has never been followed by the DTTA.

“In fact, I am unaware of such a procedure. We just got a 'help' request from the DTTA and we provided it.

“How can we provide players with refreshments and TT balls when the money is not going to be reimbursed," said SS Kapoor. “The Delhi government should institute an inquiry… There is a nexus out there,” said Kapoor.