Calcutta: If fitness is the key factor which separates Indian table tennis players from the world’s traditional bests, Table Tennis Federation of India (TTFI) is going holistic to make up the gap.
The idea of meditation and yoga is a buzzword in junior and sub-junior national camps, currently going on at SAI Eastern Centre and the national federation is planning to use it as a key component of all upcoming camps.
“In a game like table tennis, where fitness is required as much as intelligence, meditation comes in handy.
“And it will be part of our training schedules in the camps in coming days,” said a TTFI official on Tuesday.
Tapan Chandra, one of the three coaches, associated with the camps at SAI, also insisted that the players were showing signs of improvement after meditation.
The 32-odd trainees have been subjected to special yoga classes from a teacher from Belur Math.
“The players are getting benefit from his classes. They now look more focussed and concentrated and it’s a good thing to note,” Chandra added.
The next stage of the camp will be held in July in either Ajmer or Patiala and about 20 players will be selected for the international open junior and sub-junior meets, to be held in Taiwan and Hungary.
Former national champion Ganesh Kundu, another coach at the camp, however, said India had an uphill task to challenge the traditional rivals.
“Last time, we had put up a creditable show in the China international open meet.
“Since then, the likes of Soumyadeep Roy, Sourav Chakraborty and Ranabir Das have been graduated to senior level, leaving a gap which the current crop of players look unlikely to fill up,” Kundu assessed.
He also pointed out that whereas the junior level in India is fixed at under-18, it is under-19 in such countries as China and South Korea. “This also makes a difference in the strength of a side,” Kundu opined.
Chandra, however, called for forming a residential training centre from cadet levels.
“We should follow the Chinese model here. We need to select a few players, put them together in a residential complex and provide them with both education as well as training”, he added.
The coaches, Dipak Halder being the other one, however, are pinning hopes on national sub-junior champion Sunil Shetty of Maharashtra.
Thirteen players from Bengal are in the camp.