The national camp for India’s top table tennis players has been indefinitely postponed yet again with some of the players unwilling to travel while those willing are waiting for the facility at the SAI Campus Bengaluru to be functional. Table Tennis Federation of India, which is currently de-recognised by the government, has been trying to assemble players under one roof since August. The latest attempt was aimed at starting a three week camp from October 15.
“Some players are willing to travel, some players want to train overseas and the venue too is not ready yet and and our de-recognition is not helping either (since we approach the government). We are looking at November now,” TTFI secretary general M P Singh told PTI.
While speaking with Prag News, MP Singh, General Secretary, TTFI, said, “We are trying to conduct the camp in October end or by by the November 1st week . Twelve players have confirmed their availability to participate in Bangalore. Out of Women’s top four only Archana Kamath is confirmed, and in men’s Sathiyan and Harmeet are not participating.”
“I am ready to travel whenever the camp can be organised. Though we have been training on our own, it would be nice to have a camp in a team environment. We need to live with the virus while taking all safety precautions,” Sharath told PTI. Someone like world number 32 G Sathiyan wants to be part of the camp but is not okay with the mandatory seven-day quarantine upon arrival in Bengaluru. Harmeet Desai is the only one so far who has procured visa to play in France.
Talking about the situation, Arjuna Awardee Anthony Amalraj told Prag News, “I am having proper OnCourt hardcore training along with some good co-players at my place only and now I have found a fitness trainer as well who will train me personally. I respect TTFI decision, whenever the camp is going to be organised, I will immediately be ready to join willingly, till then I will practicing at home. Only thing I feel is whenever camp or any other event is going to happen in future, we have to be very much careful about our health and hygiene as safety matters first.”
While asked about National camp postponement and willingness to join, Sathiyan, World Rank 32, told Prag News, “when I heard the news, you know I personally felt that the mandatory quarantine for seven days was something which is too long, I do understand it’s for the safety of the player’s, but for a three weeks camp, you have seven days quarantine inside Banglore and coming my way back to Chennai it’s another one week isolation, so for a 3 week camp, two weeks quarantine might be a lot because it will also push us back in our training, in our preparation which is we already had a long break, so I think we should wait and get the negative Covid text done and probably in one day we should be to resume training.”
“If that’s not the situation now, then we should definitely wait and probably this isn’t right time, you know without quarantine, cause it’s something which is really put you off gutt as it’s vital. So, yeah we are really looking forward that things get normal and then we can join camp sometime soon but without quarantine would be best for me I suggest. So whenever it’s possible this way, then I can definitely join the camp, that’s the only issue for me otherwise I feel a camp is absolutely gonna help us but I am also looking probably to go abroad for some competitions or league if I am permitted.”
Also, he stated, “I feel there was no other option because most of the women’s paddlers didn’t want to come, you know there were very less players like Sharath and Amal probably were ready but Harmeet is flying to France and me also looking probably to go abroad and the one factor is that everyone felt comfortable at home cause everyone is having great training.
For example, I am having superb training with Raman sir and doing fitness with Ramji, having mental conditioning here in Chennai, so everythin is perfect here but definitely a national camp will help but you know if you want me to break for two weeks, that’s not a great idea and there is no tournament, so probably I think we can have a camp when calenders are announced, you know it should be like a team spirit bonding, come together and have a camp.”
Whereas Manav Thakkar, young sensation while speaking to Prag News also has stated, “I am also willing to join the national camp but the qurantine period for seven days is too much for 15 day camp.
I think if the camp will held for a longer period, say like for a month or so, it will be much better or else I can understand for every player getting quarantine for 7 days and playing 15 days then going back will be very tough.
Also, with me the thing is that I need to know who the coaches will going to be for training in the canp like Roy da(Soumyadeep Roy, the current Indian men’s team coach) is really good or some other.
But still I’m willing to join as camp will make all the top players practice together under one roof.”
However Sutirtha Mukherjee, the current National Champion, “I want to say that in this pandemic situation where there is deadly Corona virus, my parents have not allowed me to join the national camp, as travelling is not safe at all, infact I will say this time all are unsafe.”