Justice Gita Mittal (Retd), Chairman of the Committee of Trustees (CoA) appointed by the Delhi High Court to manage the affairs of the Table Tennis Federation of India (TTFI), believes that the committee has taken transparent and democratic steps to put the sport back on track in the country.
Talk to sports star During the 83rd National Youth and Junior Table Tennis Championships, Mittal said that the main achievement of the CoA in the last four months was that he was able to organize the three national championships without proper budgeting and without the help of sponsors. She said this was done to facilitate the national team’s participation in the Commonwealth Games and other international events.
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The chairman said recent court cases and the selection controversy had affected the morale of the selected players and the CoA was facing challenges in sending the team to the Commonwealth Games.
“Exaggerated weight for national tournaments”
“The independent selection committee had recommended the players’ names to the CoA. But the existing ranking and selection criteria does not provide for doubles teams. Exaggerated weighting is given to domestic tournaments over international events. Doubles is an essential part of the Asian, Commonwealth and Olympic Games. We had to identify the correct pair.
“We introduced the electronic draw to avoid rigging and it was well received by the players. It is good to know that we have implemented bonus parity at the 83rd National Junior Championships in Alappuzha. Furthermore, I understand that match officials are poorly paid and their remuneration needs to be increased. -Gita Mittal
“The selectors were in a conundrum as Archana Kamath has no points in the national circuit. She also did not play doubles in the senior national championships and lost in the first round in singles. However, the selection committee recommended Archana as Manika Batra’s Commonwealth doubles partner [Games] and wrote that it should be cleared by SAI. CoA wrote to SAI stating the reasons. SAI said it was the sports body’s prerogative to decide on its teams. Now, it’s unfortunate that the players decided for themselves who is more deserving. Four players went to court and it put a lot of pressure on selected players who should actually prepare for games,” she said.
Plans to establish national and regional academies
Commenting on some of the longer term goals, the President said the objective was to ensure India’s good performance in the 2028 Olympics and the need to broadcast the game to tier two cities in the country. “We intend to create a national table tennis academy on the same model as the NCA. There would also be regional academies to identify and develop talent. We have also asked the Petroleum Sports Promotion Board to revive their academies,” she said.
“We introduced the electronic draw to avoid rigging and it was well received by the players. It is good to know that we have implemented bonus parity at the 83rd National Junior Championships in Alappuzha. Also, I understand that match officials are poorly paid and their remuneration needs to be increased,” she said, referring to the other important steps taken by the CoA.
The committee, she said, had no intention of staying longer than necessary.
“The CoA has no intention of extending his stay and will leave after completing the task as directed by the Honorable Delhi High Court.”