The UTT National Ranking Table Tennis Championships will commence at the brand-new Multipurpose Hall at the Parade Grounds in Dehradun, Uttarakhand, on Tuesday, December 7.
In a novel move to benefit players, the Uttarakhand Table Tennis Association (UTTA) has raised the prize money component across all events. This includes the Youth Under-1, held for the first time since the new category was added to the national calendar following the age-criteria changes initiated by the ITTF.
The winners of the men and women singles category will receive a prize money of ₹1.10 lakh each while the silver medal winners will get exactly half the amount. The prize purse in other categories has swelled substantially as well.
Battle between young and experienced table tennis players in the offing
The UTT National Ranking Table Tennis Championships will have the participation of 1,066 players with 1,755 entries across categories. The sheer number of entries sums up the importance of playing national ranking events, particularly after the pandemic-induced drought.
A depleted field with big guns taking a sabbatical in the men and women’s sections is in the offing. But that is unlikely to take the sheen out of the tournament with several big names still in the fray.
The field has former national champions Manav Thakkar, Sanil Shetty and Anthony Amalraj, who will all be in action. The battle between the veterans and the young, enterprising table tennis from Bengal, Maharashtra, Telangana, RBI, and AAI who are capable of challenging their supremacy will be one to watch out for.
The distinct possibility of a battle for the singles crown between Haryana’s Sutirtha Mukherjee and Reeth Rishya of the PSPBB cannot be ruled out. But they will be wary of PSPB veterans Pooja Saharashrabudhe, former national champion Madhurika Patkar, young Akula Sreeja and Swastika Ghosh.
The young table tennis brigade have recently proved themselves with quality performances in international tournaments. They will now be ready to stretch their streak at home. The junior table tennis players have, of late, done a lot of winning medals in tournaments abroad, and they will be eager to stamp their authority.
But it will be the U-11 category that will provide a glimpse of what to expect from the future of India when the tournament begins. This fresh lot of players will be in action first-up on Tuesday.
Competition manager N Ganeshan and chief referee A.S. Kler will have a new deputy in first-timer Amit Singh. They will be supported by 40 Blue Badge, international and national umpires.