VIJAYAWADA:Table tennis appears to have caught the fancy of the children in the city, as kids in huge numbers are seen flocking to table tennis academies, of late, thus indicating a rise in the popularity of the sport, which also is expected to give a tough competition to cricket.
In Vijayawada, there are two government and two private table tennis academies where hundreds of children practice quite avidly everyday. Further, Krishna District Table Tennis Association (KDTTA) in coordination with private institutions conducts summer coaching camps every year in the city to teach basics of the sport to the kids.
Unlike earlier, most of the parents nowadays are letting their kids get trained in table tennis, for they believe that excellence in any sport could not only improve the performance of their children in academics but also help them get a seat in professional colleges under sports quota.
“In the past, we hardly used to find table tennis players in the city. Though there were enough coaches and good facilities, many children were attracted to other sports. But now, the trend has changed and the parents are joining their kids in table tennis academies, as the sport helps improve the concentration levels of players and physical fitness, of course,” said Y Damodar Reddy, table tennis coach at Chennupati Ramakotaiah Indoor Stadium and a member of KDTTA.
It may be mentioned that international players like K Spoorthi and many others got medical and engineering seats in top universities under sports quota. Moreover, the percentage of senior players landing jobs under sports quota has multiplied these days, as table tennis offers special job reservation in income tax, railways, postal department, central excise, banking, accounts and auditing.
“In view of the benefits, a few youngsters are opting the sport as a career option and getting admissions in top universities in various streams like medicine, engineering and MBA. Needless to say, senior table tennis players have more chances to land plum jobs in several fields when compared to their counterparts,” he pointed out.
However, many youths are quitting the game after SSC, as they are required to spend more time in colleges. Due to lack of support from educational institutions, the percentage of table tennis players representing the place in many national and international tournaments is gradually declining.
“The players need to spend more time in practice sessions to claim victory in national and international tournaments. For this, the college managements should support students who are passionate about table tennis. Unfortunately, the students are unable to participate in tournaments owing to academic pressure,” Damodar said.