KARACHI: Once the hub of producing top table tennis players in the country, Karachi is finally set to revive international action as the city hosts the South Asian Junior and Cadet Table Tennis Championships at the Habib Public School Gymnasium from July 15.
Karachi — famous for having the lion’s share when it comes to forming teams to compete globally — last hosted the event back in 2008, while Islamabad organised it in 2014.
Pakistan Table Tennis Federation (PTTF) President Sibtain Naqvi said the tournament will help redirect attention to Karachi — and especially Islamia Club, which almost single-handedly bred the country’s quality players until the late 1990s.
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“Neither Karachi nor Islamia Club is producing good players now,” Naqvi told The Express Tribune. “The reason may be a lack of interest from the junior players who are starved of international action in their city. Now this tournament is happening at a local school in Karachi, which may revive the flagging interest of not only the players but also the general popularity of the sport in the metropolis.”
Naqvi added that seven teams including Pakistan will participate in the three-day championships. “India, Sri Lanka, Nepal and Maldives have confirmed their participation, while Bangladesh and Bhutan have yet to confirm their entries,” he said.
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The official further said that holding the event in Karachi will cost Rs3 million, and for that the PTTF is seeking financial support from the Pakistan Sports Board (PSB).
Each country will send 10 players — six in juniors (three boys, three girls) and four (two boys, two girls) in cadet categories. The finalists in each category will qualify for the Asian Junior and Cadet Table Tennis Championship.
Published in The Express Tribune, June 14th, 2016.
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