JAMMU: Emerging as a most sought after sports destination, Jammu and Kashmir is all set to host the 84th Senior National Table Tennis Championship from 20th of this month.
“It is a matter of great honor and privilege to be hosts of yet another major event in the sports calendar of the country,” Secretary Youth Services and Sports (YSS) Sarmad Hafeez said while briefing the media about the upcoming event.
The Championship is being organized by J&K table Tennis Association in coordination with J&K Sports Council.
Flanked by Sanjay Wahi, President J&K Table Tennis Association and N.Ganeshan, Competition Manager of the event, Secretary said that successful conduct of Veteran Masters National Table Tennis Championship in Srinagar last year has consolidated the claim of J&K to be one of the most sought after sports destinations in the country and the allotment of 84th Senior National Table Tennis Championship-2022 by Table Tennis Federation of India (TTFI) only substantiates the claim.
He said that J&K is hosting Senior National Table Tennis Tournament after a gap of almost 25 years and all the stakeholders especially the J&K Sports Council and J&K Table Tennis Association deserve all accolades for making it possible, adding that in past one year J&K has hosted 22 National level tournaments in various sports disciplines. Attributing the rise in sports activities across the Union Territory to the boom in sports infrastructure, Sarmad Hafeez said that in the days to come sports activities will amplify manifold.
Many former International stars and Arjun Awardees like Monalisa Mehta, S.Raman and Kamlesh Mehta are going to witness the event and this in itself should be a biggest motivation and inspiration for our Table Tennis stars waiting in wings to realise their potential, Sarmad Hafeez added.
President J&K Table Tennis Association, Sanjay Wahi, said that many prominent paddlers of the country shall take part in the event which includes star players like Sharath Kamal, Manika Batra and Sathiana Ganaesekaran who collectively bagged 6 Gold medals in recent CommonWealth Games.
N. Ganeshan, competition manager of the event who hails from Kerala, appreciated the growing sports culture in the union territory of J&K. Recalling his first visit to J&K in 1997, Ganeshan said sports infrastructure has not only improved but increased in number too and the facilities put in place during his recent visit last year during Masters Table Tennis Championship motivated him and other participants to frequently visit J&K and contribute towards sports in whatever capacity they can.
The event is all set to begin from 20th of this month and shall extend over a period of eight days in which more than 750 players and officials from 34 States, Union Territories, Sports Boards and Institutions are taking part. The championship carries a total cash prize of sixteen lakh rupees and for the first time the reward shall be equally distributed among the winners from women and men categories also setting a standard to curb the gender bias in sports also.
Around 33 men and 32 women teams besides 65 technical officials from all over the country are going to take part in singles, doubles, mixed doubles, and team championship events.
Speaking on the occasion, Secretary J&K Sports Council, Nuzhat Gull, said that the championship will provide healthy competition to the participating athletes and send a good message of J&K hospitality for which is known world over. She said that J&K Sports Council is for the upliftment of sports in the union territory and it shall leave no stone unturned to change the sports landscape of Jammu & Kashmir.
The championship will provide a platform to the Youth of J&K to showcase their talent and rub shoulders with the reputed players of the country and shall be an opportunity for them to hone their skills, said Ajay Sharma Organising Secretary J&K table Tennis Association. He also said that adequate arrangement for boarding and lodging and local transportation has been put in place for all the participants.
Ajay Sharma, while addressing the locals through media, requested all in and around Jammu to visit the venue and support the participants.
Among others present on the occasion included Rakesh Mangotra, Special Secretary YSS, Rajeev Sharma Member J&K Sports Council, Dr Zaffar Iqbal Chief Accounts Officer, Parul Khajuria Under Secretary YSS, Sheikh Riyaz Ahmad Administrative Officer J&K Sports Council and office bearers of J&K table Association including Rajan Sharma Secretary, Satbir Singh Senior Vice-President, Narinder Singh Treasurer, IP Singh and Saleem Bandey Vice-Presidents, Vasu Dewan and Hanumat Sharma Joint Secretary.