Locals get a bigger leg-room in Thane!

TTFI central zone


Thane, October 13: The Table Tennis Federation of India (TTFI), taking the cue from ITTF, schedules the National Ranking Championships nowadays along the lines of European circuit events, wherever possible. It has immensely
benefited the players for they just have to hop over from one closer state to another, rather than travelling the length and breadth of the country.

After the Central Zone at Jamnagar, the players’ caravan has now moved to the nearby Maharashtra for the Thane Mayor Cup 2015 National Ranking (West Zone) Table Tennis Championships which get underway at the Dadoji Kondev
Stadium here from tomorrow.

The plus for the event here, in comparison to the one at Jamanagar, is the substantial increase in number of entries, crossing the 1200 mark across all categories, whereas at Jamnagar it was close to 1000. The events will
be held in Cadet Boys, Cadet Girls, Sub-Junior Boys, Sub-Junior Girls, Youth Boys and Youth Girls besides Men’s and Women’s singles.

For the second time in succession national champion Soumyait Ghosh and Ankita Das have not entered for the current tournament and even men’s singles finalist Sanil Shankar Shetty is a doubtful starter. Barring the ‘major’ three, all other top players have confirmed their participation.This is, indeed, an encouraging sign.

Thane zonal most interesting aspect is that the state has made it mandatory for local boys and girls to appear in at least one national ranking event before they can become eligible for appearance in the Maharashtra State
Ranking tournament. The obligation has drawn over 200 players to the event!

In other words, the championships has provided a platform to the locals and one can expect two types of healthy challenges among players—first from within Maharashtra and the second at all-India level.

With the state doing well in recent years, particularly in the last zonal, one can expect an encore from Divya Deshpande, who won her maiden women’s crown at Jamagar and Ravindra Kotiyan, who won the Youth Boys title. They
will be the real darling of the crowd. However, they should be cautious not to get overawed by the situation or the occasion as pressure can pull them down.

The Cadet and Sub-Junior section events, which will hog the limelight on the first two days, will be a crowded affair with qualifying and main draw events. The Cadet Boys have been divided into 30 groups with Cadet Girls
distributed in 24 groups. As for the Sub-Junior section, the boys have been put in 48 groups while the girls in 32.

From Friday, the Junior Boys and Girls begin their campaign along with men and women’s qualifiers late in the evening that day. All in all, the schedule for the participants is going to be a tight and equally interesting.

The last zonal threw up quite a few upsets in all sections and one can anticipate something similar happening here at Thane.

According to Competition Manager Ganeshan Neelakanta Iyer, Metco equipment and flooring will be used along with STAG plastic balls during the championships.  A.S. Kler will be the chief referee and he will be helped
by deputy referee C.L. Thade, with support coming in form 40 Blue Badge, international and national umpires.

Maharashtra Table Tennis Association honorary secretary Yatin Tipnis said he was too pleased to receive the participants, as in the past. “Every year, we look forward to hosting one national event in Maharashtra and have
on board a few sponsors to support our cause. Hopefully, our players repeat the good performance they had put up at Jamnagar, if not do one better.”

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