NEW DELHI: WITH India’s hunt for a foreign table tennis coach not exactly going according to plan, the Table Tennis Federation of India (TTFI) and Sports Authority of India (SAI) have decided to go ahead and appoint a panel of national coaches till the Olympics so that players do not miss out on valuable training time.
This contingency plan was approved by SAI and TTFI after players had a meeting and informed the authorities of their urgent need for guidance. The exact number of coaches is yet to be decided but a couple of coaches have been spoken to in this regard. A final call will be taken soon.
The players are happy with this development as team and doubles events get hampered due to lack of inputs. Singles is not much of a problem as players already have their fixed training routines. This becomes even more important with the ITTF World Team Qualification Event coming up in January.
“This is a positive step taken by SAI and TTFI and will help us in our preparations for Tokyo. We do not have much time and need to get into shape ahead of January to try and qualify at the first attempt,” CWG and Asian Games medallist A Sharath Kamal said.
With Massimo Costantini leaving the post after the Asian Games last year, India’s hunt for a coach to replace the Italian has taken them through Dejan Papic and Jorg Bitzigeio. While the former had a surgery which ultimately complicated matters, the German is currently embroiled in a court case after the USA team refused to accept his resignation. He does not want to come to India at this stage as he wants to spend time with his family.
The interlocutor for the Jorg deal, Sharath has been tasked with talking to another coach — Dubravko Skoric — to try to convince him to come down to India. The Croatian is currently in Germany and the Padma Shri awardee will be heading to Europe for training next week and will meet Dubravko to chalk out a potential deal.
Unhappy in Patiala
Paddlers have expressed their unhappiness with the NIS Patiala facilities and want the national centre to be situated somewhere else. The small hall is one of their main grouses.Bengaluru, Indore and Kolkata are being looked at with the former city being the front-runner as of now. Bengaluru and Indore’s facilities are top-notch but connectivity in Indore seems to be an issue. Chennai missed out on account of having no hostel facilities.