Introduction of doubles event at the sub-junior level boon for sport, believe players, coaches
Officials, coaches and players cite lack of players to represent state at the national level tournaments for starting the doubles event at the junior-most level of the game
The first edition of the Sharada district ranking table tennis tournament 2019 held at the Sharada Sports Centre in Karve Nagar on Tuesday with a number of the city’s top players in action.
The tournament will also see the introduction of the doubles event at the sub-junior level in district tournaments. Earlier, the event only took place at the state level, national level and at the district level only in the open and veterans’ category.
The reason for starting the doubles event was that the lack of tournaments for the players was costing the state team at the national level and was about time for the association to begin with it. According to Shriram Konkar, secretary PDTTA, its the federation’s decision to conduct the doubles event. According to him, he wanted to introduce a new format to the younger kids so as to give them more opportunities to win medals at the state and national levels.
“This was a decision taken by the association as we saw a number of our kids not being competitive at the national level in doubles events. Thus, introducing it to them when they’re 12, 13 years old is imperative as they get accustomed to playing alongside a partner and further increase their chances to win medals at higher levels,” said Konkar.
Neel Mulye, a sub-junior who’s moved up an age group this year and is also the top seed in the doubles with Aditya Jori, believes introduction of the doubles event has been seen as a positive move .Throwing light on how the introduction of the doubles tournament has been helpful, the Pune number 2 said, “I have played doubles at the national level but getting the event at the junior level gives more players inspiration to take it up. Finding a suitable partner is also very important and being a left-handed player, I didn’t find it difficult finding a rightie.”
His father Upendra, who is the coach at PYC Gymkhana also believed it was a fantastic decision by the association.
“I believe it’s a fine initiative by the association. A lot of players enjoy playing doubles as it is a challenging format. It also instils teamwork among the players and they now have the facilities needed to become fine players in the future,” said Upendra.