NEW DELHI: After the high of 2018, table tennis in India is back in the doldrums. Confusion over the release of government funds is hampering plans to have a training camp for top paddlers in Denmark from Tuesday as well as participation in the World Championship in Budapest from April 21.
The Table Tennis Federation of India (TTFI) says both clearances are stuck with the Sports Authority of India (SAI). The sports ministry says names were submitted late. According to TTFI, the camp will either be scrapped or be attended only by those who can travel on their own.
Regarding the World Championship, the players will apply for visa and time is running out. “If funds are not released on time, we will call a meeting and figure out how to send the players on our own,” a TTFI official said.
Sports secretary Radheshyam Julaniya has quashed all these.
“I sat with various federations as well as IOA and decided that all federations need to send entries and necessary documents one month before a tournament. With regards to the table tennis issue, I can say that documents were not submitted on time.
“While players’ names have now been cleared for the Worlds, approval for coaches has not been completed because of discrepancy with regards to information furnished,” he told this daily.
The camp was supposed to be attended by all eight members of the World Championship team, but since funds were not released on time, most might not make it.
G Sathiyan and A Sharath Kamal, part of the TOP scheme, will travel on their own and be joined by youngster Manav Thakkar. Top woman paddler Manika Batra will join these players a few days later. The other members will travel if funds are released by Monday.
“We are losing momentum because of this. It was imperative that players train together ahead of the World Championships as the event is vital for earning ranking points ahead of the qualifiers for the 2020 Olympics,” Sharath told this daily from Yokohama.
This problem has been going on since the start of the year with India constantly sending in late entries for tournaments as well as receiving last-minute clearances. “Last year we were the talk of the town after our great displays on the world stage. Now our name is taking a beating because of all these issues,” a top player said.
Sathiyan beats World No 14
Sathiyan placed himself within reach of a slot in the Chengdu World Cup, which will be held in October, by defeating World No 14 Chun Ting Wong of Hong Kong in a fifth-to-eighth place match in the Asian Cup in Yokohama on Saturday.The World No 28 will be up against Lin Yun-Ju of Chinese Taipei in a clash to grab fifth place on Sunday. Earlier, Sathiyan had been defeated Olympic champion Ma Long in the quarterfinals.