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TT opener for stadium

Siliguri, Aug. 25: The state government and North Bengal Table Tennis Association will jointly organise a state level table tennis tournament in the first week of September to mark the inauguration of the indoor stadium in Alipurduar town.

Gautam Deb, the north Bengal development minister, made the announcement here today. “Construction of the indoor stadium in Alipurduar, which has 5,000-odd seats, is complete. We intend to inaugurate the stadium formally with a mega event and have decided to conduct a state level table tennis tournament in association with NBTTA,” said Deb here this afternoon.

The event, christened as Jitendra Mohan Dey Sarkar Uttarbanga Rajya Table Tennis Tournament, will begin on September 2. On the same day, the stadium would be inaugurated formally, he said.

“Around 400 players from different parts of the state will participate at the event in 16 different categories for individuals. Also, games will be played in seven group and doubles’ categories for five days with the tournament concluding on September 6. We have decided to award cash prizes worth Rs 50,000 to the winners,” the minister said.

“North Bengal is known for table tennis but so far, it has been concentrated in and around Siliguri. We want to spread the indoor game across the region so that the talent of more gifted players can be tapped. The indoor stadium would surely function as a ready infrastructure for table tennis players dwelling in Alipurduar town and the suburbs. This is why we have decided to open the stadium with the tournament,” said Deb.

According to a source, players like Mouma Das, Ankita Das, Subhajit Saha, Sourav Chakraborty, Nandita Saha Aishwarya Deb, Akash Nath and Rajib Sarkar will participate in the tournament.

“All of them are former or existing national table tennis champions and are from north Bengal. We are expecting a huge footfall of table tennis enthusiasts and sports lovers during the tourney which would be the first-of-its-kind in Alipurduar,” added Deb.