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Sports


Past masters onto serious business in National Masters in Indore

Indore, Feb 12 (UNI) It is perhaps a good idea by India's supreme
table tennis body ( Table Tennis Federation of India) to rechristen
the Veterans Nationals as the Masters Nationals, giving the dignity
the past masters of the game deserve as they get down to serious
business at the 26th edition, beginning here at the Abhay Prashal
celebrating its silver jubilee year on Tuesday.
The participants, numbering over 1,000 across 37 categories, begin
their campaign with the team championships and follow them up with the
individual events from the third day. With matches—team events,
singles, doubles and mixed doubles—to be played, one can witness the
pulse rate shooting among players, especially in the 40+ and 50+
sections.
After all, 37 gold medals are at stake and Maharashtra could be the
team to beat as they have put up a strong contingent comprising 203
players. Understandably, hosts Madhya Pradesh follow in the second
spot with 100 paddlers while West Bengal with 78 players qualifies as
the third biggest team.
Surprisingly, this edition will see an unprecedented 226 entries in
Men 40+, 240 in Men 50+ and 154 in Men 60+ sections, making the
championships somewhat feisty. All these events are played in two
stages, first in league format and followed by knockout.
There 11 categories in team events—seven in men and four in women—with
teams divided into groups of three each by the competition department.
For the sake of their convenience, it has also taken care of an easy
schedule and has employed 24 tables in two halls. The seriousness of
the Masters can be gauged by the fact that TTFI has not compromised on
the quality of equipment either as matches will be played on Stag
tables, as has been the practice in any national event, with flooring
and balls also sponsored by Stag.
Unlike the other nationals conducted by TTFI, the participants of
Masters may not have any higher stakes like making it to Team India
squads for major Games, but some of these masters would definitely
like to test their skills before entering their names for the World
Veterans, to be held in France.
However, for some masters, winning a medal or two is just a bonus.
What matters to most of them is their participation. Yet, one cannot
miss for the next six days their entire concentration will be to
perform to the best of their abilities in front of a packed hall—some
have been accompanied by their family members—to reconfirm that their
passion and skills are intact despite having gone past their active
playing days.
The MPTTA has provided a fantastic playing atmosphere and even the
weather at Indore has been very conducive. And all these assure some
fierce competition in individual events, especially in the 40+ and 50+
categories.
Incidentally, this was the second edition when entries were received
through the online system ever since TTFI took over the reign of
masters’ affairs a couple of years ago. And within two years, the
competition department has made it absolutely technology-friendly for
even the veterans committees of the IVTTC. So much so, all the
1000-odd entries were received on time which, in turn, has helped
uploading all details like the match schedule, draws and entries on
the website.
The enormity of the championships can also measured by the fact that
two veteran referees—A.S. Kler and Anil Duby—will be assisting
competition manager, N. Ganeshan. Both referees will have a host of
other technical officials, including N.K. Lahiry and Joseph Chacko,
Blue Badge, international and national umpires, numbering 60, to run
the event smoothly.
UNI XC-PC AND
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(Rptg, adding a word in para seven)
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