TT federation CoA says Khelo India participation compulsory

The Committee of Administrators (CoA) appointed by the Delhi high court to run the Table Tennis Federation of India (TTFI) has made participation in the Khelo India Youth Games (KIYG) in Panchkula from June 4-13 compulsory. It means India’s best players will have to skip some international tournaments.

Players and parents expressed ‘surprise’ at CoA’s circular dated May 23 which said, “All those who are selected to play in the Khelo India organised tournaments are advised that their participation in these tournaments is compulsory. Priority has to be given to the Khelo India tournaments over all international tournaments except for the Olympics, Asian Games, Commonwealth Games and world championships, except in the eventuality or exceptional circumstance of sickness of a like nature and the exemption shall require the approval of the CoA,” the circular said.

The WTT Contender tournament in Zagreb from June 13-19 is part of the international circuit with world ranking points. Two Youth Contender meets in Argentina (boys June 3-5, girls June 13-15) and Czech Republic (Havirov, June 6-12) also clash with KIYG.

The CoA said senior players required to play in KIYG are “seeking exemptions on the ground that they want to participate in a tournament in the Czech Republic.”

“The government of India has put in tremendous efforts in the introduction as well as working of the Khelo India programme and is supporting the identified talent. The identified players are receiving financial and other support from the government of India,” the circular said.

Diya Chitale and Swastika Ghosh, India No 3 and 4 respectively, are in the India team for the Zagreb tournament, but will now compete in KIYG. The table tennis competition in KIYG is from June 9-12.

“Our original plan was to play in the WTT contender in Zagreb. However, since participation in KIYG has been made compulsory, Diya will come back and participate. It would be good if the schedule can be managed in a manner that the girls’ event gets over by afternoon of June 11 so that Diya can travel with the team for the WTT contender,” her father Parag Chitale said.

Diya, who reached the pre-quarters of the senior nationals, is among the country’s rising players and won the WTT Youth title in Peru this month. She is competing in Spain this week and had plans to continue training in Europe and join the Indian team in Zagreb.

Swastika, 19, was in the national camp in Bengaluru ahead of selection for the Commonwealth Games. “The WTT event in Croatia is her senior international debut and we were very proud when she was selected,” her father and coach Sandeep Ghosh said. “I asked the CoA if the dates for TT competition can be advanced so that she can travel with the team but it was turned down,” her father and coach Sandeep Ghosh said.

“The government has never said KIYG is compulsory. We have not received any communication from the government or TOPS. KIYG organisers had only asked Swastika whether she is available or if there is any engagement. So, why has CoA put out such a rule?”

Another parent, who did not wish to be identified, said he did send his daughter’s entry for the youth meet in Havirov. “All these events have world ranking points, once you enter and cancel, you have to pay a fine.”

In February, the Delhi high court suspended the TTFI executive committee and appointed the CoA, headed by Chief justice (retd.) Geeta Mittal.

A member of the CoA said “KIYG is an important tournament and we don’t want our players to miss out.”

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