Punjab returns to TT action after two decades
TTFI Event News 24th-Oct-2021
Mohali, October 23: Over 700 entries across three events in the second leg of the UTT National Ranking North Zone Table Tennis Championships, starting at the Sports Complex at Sector 78 from tomorrow, are an encouraging sign.
It will be the first time after 2019 that the boys and girls in the age-group brackets of Youth Under-17, Under-15 and Under-13 will get to indulge in some serious activities. Last year, however, they got the opportunity to compete in the two National Championships—Cadet and Sub-Junior and Junior—held at Indore.
It is equally heartening that an event of this magnitude is returning to Punjab after two decades. The Punjab Table Tennis Association had organized the Junior National Championships in 2001 at Jalandhar. Now, taking advantage of the facilities available at Mohali, the state association is hosting the three events for both Boys and Girls over the next five days.
Preyesh Raj Suresh from Tamil Nadu and Haryana’s Suhana Saini, who claimed the Youth Under-19 Girls singles title, start as the favourites. But both will be wary of the opposition from certain players, especially Aadarsh Om Chetri, Divyansh Srivastava, Jash Modi, to name a few, among boys and, Lakshita Narang, Taneesha Kotecha, Sayali Wani, and Pritha Vartikar among the girls.
All of them are capable of toppling one another on a given day. But it will be still difficult for them to upstage a confident Suhana, who has three recent international titles behind her. The way she acquitted herself in the Under-19 Youth Girls yesterday in three knockout matches makes her the best bet at this juncture.
Preyesh, with surprising service variations and good backhand counters in his repertoire, has not justified his billing as a top player. The left-hander from Chennai, who could be the top seed on current rankings, has to do more to prove his detractors wrong.
So is P.B. Abhinand, also from Tamil Nadu, Om Chetri from Delhi, Jash Modi from Maharashtra, and Divyansh Srivastava from UP.
Among the top-ranked Under-17 girls, M. Hansini of Tamil Nadu and Pranati P. Nair of Kerala are good prospects and full of talent. But they have some way to go before they can aspire to topple the applecart.
The 191 entries in the boys and 153 in girls are indications of the popularity of the ranking championships and how players want to make most of the first opportunity this season. The boys are divided into 56 groups, and the girls into 48 groups. One player from each group qualifies for the main draw.
According to N. Ganeshan, competition manager, A.S. Kler will be the chief referee for the championships with Dr Atul Dubey as his deputy. They will be assisted by 40 Blue Badge, International and National umpires. As for the equipment, both Stag tables and balls will be used besides the flooring.