New Delhi: Much to the relief of the national federation and players, the National camp for the senior paddlers got underway, with nine out of 11 players in attendance at the DPS, Sonepat from Wednesday.
Achanta Sharath Kamal and Anusha Kutumbale, who did not have their flights from Chennai and Indore, respectively, on Wednesday will be joining the camp tomorrow.
With the sports activities making a slow start in India, the Table Tennis Federation of India (TTFI) had been planning such a camp for quite some time and working it out with the Sports Authority of India (SAI). TTFI and SAI also considered the players’ safety as well as travel issues, with fewer flights in operation, before finally going ahead with the camp.
The initial apprehensions notwithstanding, 11 players and three coaches have given their consent for the 42-day-long camp which will continue until December 9, 2020.
Both G. Sathiyan and Harmeet Desai, who left early this month for Europe to train and participate in the leagues there, are expected to join the camp once they return.
Top-ranked Indian in the world No. 31, Sharath Kamal, felt relieved that he and the players will be out of the cocoon to return to the “routine environment.” He admitted that this being the first national camp since lockdown and during COVID, he and fellow players would be wary of the SOPs.
“It’s a good beginning and I am sure everybody at the camp will love to get on with good training and
practice with the partners. For us, this would be the best way to go about it and prepare for the Olympic qualifiers with complete focus.
Whatever little we did during the lockdown at home was not adequate and lacked the intensity and concentration”, said Sharath.
“Now it is a serious business. The camp will allow us to assess our fitness and strike a rhythm which you don’t get when you practice alone”, he added.
At the camp venue, all precautions have been factored in as per the standard operating procedure circulated by the ministry and SAI.
Talking on the camp, TTFI Secretary General M.P. Singh said that he was keen on starting the camp and happy to see it fructifying.
“We have been making sustained efforts and were constantly in touch with SAI and the players. Now that it is happening, the camp will help them come into good shape, kind of match-ready fitness, before the Games qualifications next year”, he said.
Men: A. Sharath Kamal, Manav Thakkar, Manush Shah, Sudhanshu Grover and Jubin Kumar.
Women: Sutirtha Mukherjee, Archana Kamath, Anusha Kutumbale, Takeme Sarkar, Kaushani Nath and Diya Chitale.
Coaches: Arup Basak, Sunil Babras and Sachin Shetty.
Masseur: Amarjit Singh