04 January 2019
Cuttack: Odisha Sports and Youth Services Minister Chandra Sarathi Behera today inaugurated the 80th Senior National & Inter-State Table Tennis Championships - 2018 at Jawaharlal Nehru Indoor Stadium in Cuttack.
Around 4,000 fans witnessed the inaugural ceremony and shared the glory of one of the biggest sporting spectacle here in Cuttack. The ceremony opened to a March Past of the participants led by the ceremonial Police Band.
On this occasion, Behera spoke about the State Government’s commitment towards development and promotion of sports in the State of Odisha. He also added that State Government will promote the Table Tennis as one of the sports.
Behera also shared his vision on grassroots development of Table Tennis sport in the State with the introduction of the sport and its related infrastructure at the district and block levels including setting up of a High Performance Academy of Table Tennis in the State.
Additional Chief Secretary of MSME department and President, Odisha State Table Tennis Association (OSTTA), LN Gupta stated that the six-day prestigious sporting extravaganza is being held in Odisha after a gap of 18 years, with the last one being held in 2001.
The championships, which is being organised by the Odisha State Table Tennis Association under the aegis of Table Tennis Federation of India, is the largest so far with around 630 players (including men & women, team and individual players) from 37 teams from all over the country in action.
Around 100 officials have been deputed by the Table Tennis Federation of India (TTFI) to conduct the matches. The event will feature table tennis icons and players who have made India proud in the 2018 Gold Coast Commonwealth Games and Guangzhou Asian Games.
They include Manika Batra (first Indian woman to win CWG Gold in a women’s singles event and also the first Indian to win Breakthrough of the Year award by ITTF), Mouma Das (Arjuna awardee/Olympian), Sutirtha Mukherjee (India No.1), Archana Kamath (India No.2), Madhurika Patkar, Divya Deshpande,Ankita Das (Olympian), Pooja Sahasrabudhe (All top-10 ranked players).
In the men’s event, the star attraction will be Gold Coast CWG Gold medallists Achanta Sharath Kamal (world rank-30), G. Sathiyan (world rank–31), Harmeet Desai, Anthony Amalraj, Sanil Shetty and Manav Thakkar (all of them are within top 100 in world ranking).
Talking on the occasion about the event and the arrangements, Shri Dhanraj Choudhury, Advisor, Table Tennis Federation of India (TTFI) mentioned that this edition of the National Championships is the largest ever in terms of the number of participants and the best organised Nationals to ever take place. He stated the All India TT Federation will depute a permanent coach to Odisha and support setting up of a High Performance Table Tennis Academy in Odisha.
Odisha Sports Secretary Vishal Dev stated that the state govt. is committed to the promotion of sports and will make all out efforts to spread the game to the field level.
The Championships will be held from 04th to 09th January 2019. There will be two types of competitions - Inter-state Championships and Individual events. The Inter-State Championships will be a team event.
All the State and institutions will participate in both men’s and women’s team events, which will commence from the 4th January and conclude on 6th January. The individual event in Men’s and Women’s category will commence from 6th January and will conclude on the evening of 9th January, followed by the Prize Giving Ceremony.
‘Olly,’ which has been the mascot of all major sporting events in Odisha, was star attraction at the venue during the inaugural ceremony of the 80th Senior National & Inter-State Table Tennis Championships-2018.
During the inauguration ceremony, Sports Minister Behera and OSTTA President Gupta tried their hands on Table Tennis. Among others, OSTTA's Chairman Emeritus and Former Chief Secretary of Odisha DP Bagchi, Central Division RDC MK Mallick, Cuttack Collector Aravind Agarwal and various other dignitaries were present in the event.