Feels great that a big WTT event has come to India, says Sharath

March 05, 2023 12:12 am | Updated 04:45 pm IST - Panaji:

Takeaway: Sharath Kamal is happy that the WTT event is a huge success. 

Takeaway: Sharath Kamal is happy that the WTT event is a huge success.  | Photo Credit: Special arrangement

His campaign in the WTT Star Contender Goa 2023 may have been over on the first day of the main draw itself, but Sharath Kamal stayed on till the penultimate day and lent support to the biggest table tennis tournament in India.

“Not a great tournament for me personally, but (it) feels great that a big WTT event has come to India,” Sharath, also the chair of the International Table Tennis Federation’s (ITTF’s) Athlete Commission, said here on Saturday. “The fact that so many table tennis players have travelled to watch all the star-studded games from various parts of India stresses that the tournament is a huge success.”

The WTT Star Contender event — promoted by Stupa Sports Analytics — is the first World Table Tennis event to have been staged in India. Petra Sorling, the first woman ITTF president, also became the first chief of the federation to visit India.

Sorling’s visit — just three months after a newly-elected executive committee — has taken charge at the Table Tennis Federation of India (TTFI) after an administrative mess for a better part of the last two years — is significant considering India’s rising stature in the global table tennis ecosystem.

Sorling admitted that staging of the Star Contender event — likely to be at least a five-year affair — will help ITTF make inroads into the Indian market.

“No doubt this event is also important for ITTF and WTT. We are looking at new stars coming up. It is important for us as an institution to have a big market like India as part of the overall agenda of table tennis,” Sorling said.

“When badminton was making big strides over here, we were thinking of what we can do over here. After the last year’s - time out, let’s call it that — with the new structure and the new board in place, it’s full speed. Together I am sure we can rule this market as well.”

TTFI secretary-general Kamlesh Mehta assured that the federation will put a full-fledged domestic calendar in place from the forthcoming season.

“During our next executive committee meeting, we will plan the full calendar. Thanks to the EC’s positive outlook, we will host many more events in future,” he said.

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