Commonwealth Table Tennis: A new chapter added to Odisha sports

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Cuttack: It will be the first-ever endeavour of the Odisha government to join hands with the Odisha State Table Tennis Association (OSTTA) and the Table Tennis Federation of India (TTFI) to organize the 21st Commonwealth Table Tennis Championships, which is getting underway from tomorrow at the renovated Jawaharlal Nehru Indoor Stadium.

The government, over the years, has supported sports in a major way, bringing to Odisha international events such as the Hockey World Cup, Asian Athletics apart from the recent FIH Series Finals, a qualifying event for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. Its constant support has not only given a fillip in organizing events but has also benefited sportspersons of our country as a whole.

In his message, Minister for Sports and Youth Services, Government of Odisha, Mr. TusharkantiBehera, expressed, “I can say with pride that Odisha has emerged as one of the major sporting hubs of the country and, as we get ready to host yet another international sporting event and welcome 12 teams, we have added a new chapter. Cuttack will also witness in action some of the best from abroad and India’s top stars like AchantaSharath Kamal, G. Sathiyan and Manika Batra, who have made waves on the international arena.

We are determined to help improve sports in the region and bring more international tournaments to Odisha. Our department is committed to help grooming players across sporting disciplines and sooner than later you will hear plans to promote table tennis as well like we have done in disciplines like athletics, badminton, football, hockey and weightlifting,” he added.

Commissioner-cum-Secretary, Sports and Youth ServicesDepartment, Odisha, Mr.VishalK. Dev, elaborating further, said: “The Commonwealth championships are just the kind of platform for exchanging skills, sports camaraderie and sharing different culture among teams while battling it out for the prestigious team and singles titles. We encourage and call upon people to attend in large numbers and cheer for the players. I extend a warm welcome to all participants, including players, officials and delegates.”

Mr.Sanjay Singh, Senior Vice-president, TTFI, thanked the government for all the support to make the championships a great success, and said, “The decision to allot the championships was taken by Secretary-General M.P. Singh in less than five minutes during the senior nationals in January. Since then the government and the state association have done a wonderful job to get the stadium readied. This is the kind of commitment that takes the championships to another level and TTFI is immensely happy about it.”

Talking on withdrawal of some of the teams, he said that he was as much disappointed as the organizers have been. “We had received commitments from 18 teams. But closer to the date of the championships, six teams have pulled out for various reasons, including their government clearance and financial crunch. But one thing I can assure you is that you are about to witness some world-class matches at a world-class facility here,” he added.

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