Incidentally, this peace-loving pensioners' city, is hosting its biggest ever championships of any kind for the first time.
With the Petroleum Sports Promotion Board (PSPB) getting the pride of place in all the four categories‚Euro"Men, Women, Youth Boys and Youth Girls‚Euro"based on their last edition's performances, there may not be any change in the script to title aspirants.
When PSPB have players of the calibre of Soumyajit Ghosh, Soumyadeep Roy, Anthony Amalraj and Sanil Shetty in men's category and K. Shamini, Poulomi Ghatak, Ankita Das and Madhurika Patkar in the women's section, things become all the more easy as they are certain to go for yet another shot at the titles.
This also means the next best teams, including the Railway Sports Promotion Board (RSPB) men and women paddlers as well as the Airports Authority of India (AAI) players in the Youth Boys and Girls sections, both of whom have been seeded behind the PSPB, will have to put up much bigger fights to dethrone their rivals.
The job is easier said than done, but they have the players in their ranks who can give the best in business some torrid moments on a given day. In fact, this is the kind of feelings that are setting the two outfits apart from other institutional teams‚Euro"in all 19 teams have entered‚Euro" in the fray here.
All the teams have been divided in to six and four groups respectively with two teams from each group qualifying into the second stage. The season opener is also important for all those participating as only the top two teams from men and women categories will make it to the Senior Inter-State National Championships to be held in Bihar in January next.
Similarly, the gold medal winners from the Youth Boys and Youth Girls will qualify for the Junior Inter-State and National Championships to be held at Guwahati in December this year. The Youth events here will be played on a round-robin format with top teams winning the gold.
The team championships finals in the men and women's categories will be played on Saturday and what follows will be even more interesting with every paddler worth his name will be vying with one another in all sections for the top prize purse. The championships carries total prize of Rs. 3.32 lakh, with top eight paddlers sharing the spoils.
The championships, which have the Airports Authority of India as the co-sponsors, will use 14 new Stag 1000 DX international model tables. Tibhar white balls will be used during the championships where Ganeshan Neelakanta Iyer will be the competition manager.
A. S. Kler will be the chief referee and he will be assisted by 30 technical officials from all around the country.
A.K. Sahoo, zonal LIC manager, will inaugurate the championships on Thursday at 11 a.m. Dhanraj Choudhary, secretary-general of TTFI and treasurer of Asian Table Tennis Union will preside over the function.
--IBNS (Posted on 21-08-2013)