COVID Impact: TTFI planning National Meet with only singles events unless ‘vaccine’ out in market
The Table Tennis Federation of India (TTFI) wants to host the senior National Championship in November subject to government approval albeit with only singles event in the wake of rising cases of COVID-19. In its bid to organise an event in bio-secure environment with least health safety concerns, the TTFI doesn’t want to conduct doubles, mixed doubles and team events to avoid close contact among the players.
“We will only have team events and doubles if a vaccine is found by then,” TTFI secretary general MP Singh told PTI in an exclusive interaction. “The target is to have the camp in October and from November to February, we can have the national championships in various categories. In that window, one month will be dedicated to the UTT league (which could not be held in August due to COVID-19),” said Singh.
Talking about the sport’s resumption, Singh said the TTFI has decided to have the national camp in Bangalore and they are waiting for the required renovation to be finished at the SAI centre.
However, the players’ response to the camp proposal has been lukewarm with only three players including Sharath Kamal, Archana Kamath and Manav Thakkar willing to participate. The TTFI usually organises three national events in a year -- cadet and sub-junior, junior and youth, and senior -- but all these five categories will be staged separately this time to ensure more safety.
“We can wrap up a national event in four to five days but we will stretch it eight days to gives ourselves enough time to strictly follow all the safety protocols,” said Singh. All players and officials will be tested before the start of the event and men and women events won’t happen simultaneously.
“First, we will do the women’s event and there will be day’s gap before we start the men’s competition. We want to have not more than 200 people gather for one event.” To ensure a minimum gathering, zonal events which attract 1000-plus entries, will not be held this season, said Singh.
TTFI create ₹50 lakh COVID welfare corpus
Among things discussed in the its ‘special’ Annual General Meeting held online on Tuesday, TTFI also decided to financially help players and coaches who are struggling to stay afloat amid the pandemic, keeping the upper limit to ₹50 lakh. TTFI secretary general MP Singh told PTI it has already sanctioned ₹51,000 for junior paddler Swastika Ghosh, who wrote to the federation seeking financial help. “We have not put a number to how many we want to help. It could even go up to even 150 to 200 and total grants could go up to ₹50 lakh.
“We will help all players and coaches who are struggling in these times, all those who don’t have a permanent job, people whose coaching centres are shut,” Singh said.
Olympian Poulomi Ghatak named Natl women’s coach:
The TTFI general secretary Singh also informed that former India player and multiple time national champion Poloumi Ghatak along with Mamata Prabhu have been appointed coaches of the women’s national team led by Manika Batra.