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Tourney base for Olympics TT centre

Patna, Jan. 11: The ongoing 75th Senior National and Inter-state Table Tennis Championship at Patliputra Sports Complex seems to have opened the doors to the Olympics for paddlers from the state.

Delighted with the manner in which the tournament has been organised at the sports complex here, table tennis federations from across the subcontinent have shown their interest in setting up state-level training centres to select players for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. Table tennis made its debut in the 1988 Seoul Olympics.

The significance of the tournament in the city can be gauged by the fact that the national team for 2014 would be declared here tomorrow.

Commonwealth Table Tennis Federation, a pan-Asia association, is going to urge the state government to allow it set up a state-level training centre at the complex for selecting players for the Tokyo Olympics.

Federation president Prabhat Chandra Chaturvedi said: “This tournament has been organised in a well-coordinated manner. The credit goes to the Bihar Table Tennis Association (BTTA) and the state government here. I am going to request the chief minister during the finals tomorrow to allow us to set up a dedicated state-level coaching centre here.”

Commonwealth Table Tennis Federation runs a table tennis academy in Ajmer and two dedicated coaching centres in Patiala and Lucknow, at present.

Table Tennis Federation of India (TTFI) is also contemplating similar plans for setting up a state-level table tennis training centre here. “All arrangements, including food and accommodation among others, were good. It is in recognition of the commendable job done by the state government and table tennis association here that we are considering to set up a state-level training centre at the sports complex here,” said Bhawani Mukherji, chief national coach for table tennis in the country.

“The idea is to identify 75,000 players, starting from district levels. Top 1,000 players at the state level would be selected by 2016. It is under this talent identification plan, that we may set up a state-level training centre here at Patliputra Sports Complex,” said Mukherji.