In a remarkable display of talent and determination, the Indian contingent has emerged as the frontrunner in the ongoing South Asian Youth Table Tennis Championship 2023. The prestigious three-day international sporting event, hosted in the capital city of Itanagar from May 14 to 17, has witnessed fierce competition among more than 100 athletes and officials from six countries.
The event was inaugurated on May 14 by the Union Law Minister and local Member of Parliament from Arunachal East Parliamentary constituency. With the support of the NHPC and the Sports Department of the Arunachal Pradesh Government, the championship is being organized under the auspices and authority of the Asian Table Tennis Union and the Table Tennis Federation of India.
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With categories such as U19 Boys and Girls teams, U15 Boys and Girls teams, U19 Boys and Girls singles, U15 Boys and Girls singles, and U19 and U15 Mixed doubles events, the championship has witnessed thrilling matches adhering to the New Swaythling Cup system format.
The Indian Table Tennis Team, led by their dedicated coach, has been shining brightly in the competition. Under the U15 Girls team category, U15 Boys team category, and U19 Girls category, the Indian players showcased their exceptional skills, securing three gold medals. Notably, the U19 Boys category players have qualified for the Asian Games based on their outstanding performance last year.
Speaking exclusively to India Today NE, Jennifer Varghese, India's top-ranked player in the U15 Table Tennis category, shared her inspiring journey. Having traveled to more than eight countries for various tournaments, Jennifer drew inspiration from her elder sister, who is also a talented table tennis player. While acknowledging the infrastructure provided for the sport, Jennifer emphasized the need for more coaches and standard tables in several academies across India. With her sights set on the Olympics in 2028 and the 2026 Commonwealth Games, Jennifer has already won five medals in international tournaments.
The South Asian youth table tennis tournament has not only showcased exceptional talent but also highlighted the efforts of the organizers. Pasang Dorjee Megeji, the General Secretary of Table Tennis Arunachal, expressed pride in hosting this international event and extended his gratitude to the Chief Minister, Sports Minister, and Union Law Minister, who is also the local MP, for their support. The hospitality extended to the players and coaches, including accommodation in a luxurious 5-star hotel and nutritious meals, has been widely appreciated.
Fathimatg Dheema Ali, a player from Maldives, commended the organizing team for their meticulous arrangements and emphasized the importance of dedication and hard work in becoming a successful table tennis player. The Waii International Hotel, the venue for the championship, has also played a significant role in providing exceptional hospitality and services to the international participants.
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