With important tournaments including the Olympic qualifiers coming up on the radar, the Table Tennis Federation of India (TTFI) has decided to advance the dates of the national championships.
The tournament was initially set to be held from February 18 to 27 and was set to feature top Indian paddlers like Achanta Sharath Kamal who are looking to get some competitive experience ahead of an important period.
Now, the nationals has been advanced by a few days and will be held from February 15 to 23. The venue has also been changed from Sonipat to Panchkula (near Chandigarh).
The decision was made so that the Indian contingent can reach Doha well in advance to prepare for the $200,000 WTT Star Contender event, the qualifiers of which begin on February 28.
The Star Contender is immediately followed by the Olympic qualifiers, also in Doha. The Asian Olympic qualifier will take place between March 13 and 15.
The Indian paddlers will be looking to book their Tokyo 2020 spots here. It must be noted that considering the playing field in the event, there is a good chance Sharath Kamal and G Sathiyan make it to the final.
This will be followed by the World Olympic qualifiers from March 16, also at Doha.
Meanwhile, it will be the women’s event that kickstarts the national championships from Feb 15. The men’s event will be held from Feb 19.
“We expect the players to report by the evening of February 13 so that we can carry out the Antigen Test and start the women’s event on time on February 15,” MP Singh, secretary of the TTFI, to The Hindu.
The tournament will be held following all the relevant safety protocols. Even the change in venue for the tournament was forced by a lack of adequate accommodation facilities in Sonipat.
The National cadet and sub-junior championship is set to be held around the same time in Indore. Meanwhile, the National Youth and Junior championship will be held in Sonipat in March.
The dates for these events will be confirmed in due course.