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Table Tennis: Indian paddlers say no to TTFI's proposed national camp amid COVID-19 threat, prefer training at home

By Vishal Sharma

New Delhi, June 7: India's leading table tennis players, including Sharath Kamal and G Sathiyan, have informed the national federation TTFI that they're not able to join the proposed national camp before August, citing safety concerns within the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Following the central government's decision to open sports stadiums and complexes without spectators last month, the TTFI had sought players' availability twice for the training camp, first for the beginning of June, then for June last week. The Players have ended up saying no to both.

"Going to a training camp during this time, travelling for over 12 hours with flight, bus and train is not possible and not even a good decision due to the spread of COVID-19. The federation has asked our opinion about training camp and we said it's too dangerous now to travel. So, that's what other fellow players thinking too", said Chennai-based Sharath Kamal.

"It's a simple letter issued by the TTFI that if the players are ready to come and play in the training camp", said MP Singh, General Secretary TTFI.

"But they are not feeling safe and comfortable, they say we will start from August after the ITTF Calendar released", he added.

In an exclusive chat with Vishal Sharma, the Indian table tennis team described how they face the training at the house alone.

Sutirtha Mukherjee

Sutirtha Mukherjee

"This year was like Golden year for me because I had a chance in Olympic qualifications", said National Champion Sutirtha Mukherjee.

If you talk about me, then I feel bad at the moment because this situation which is going on right now I am very sad because of this. This year I had a chance of Olympic qualification and there were other major tournaments but could not be done due to this situation amid covid-19. I was very much sure about this Olympic qualification and it's really a golden chance for me as I become National champion last year ay Hyderabad, So it's a big opportunity for me to play Olympics but the ongoing situation at this time is very difficult.

The whole world has stopped at this time due to coronavirus so all this thinking is of no use. Right now we are preparing that when the tournament starts again, we will be able to train even better and that's why we are preparing at home.

I was practicing at Soumyadeep Roy and Poulomi Ghatak Academy but it is all stopped at the moment, but they are in touch with me, they provide me online fitness classes and also my mental and physiology classes are going on due to which I am very busy right now.

I will tell everyone right now that stay at home, stay safe don't go out unnecessarily, the sooner it gets fixed the better it will be for us, everyone will be able to go out and be able to go to the office again.

Madhurika Patkar

Madhurika Patkar

"Sportspersons are tough mentally, we should lead and motivate", said Commonwealth Games medalist Madhurika Patkar.

It's been two and a half months I haven't practised. I stay in Mulund with my Husband and I practice in Thane with my coach and in Mulund, Gymkhana with Omkar. Both Mumbai and Thane fall in Red Zone so I have still not resumed my practice in spite of Our Honourable Sports Minister given the permission and SOP ‘s. I have gone to the police stations for their permission but in vain.

Staying mentally strong and being positive is what I am doing during these period and I am doing everything needed for the game (off the table ) like physical training, mental training, shadow practices and video analysis. But now I feel that the Sports persons should be allowed to practice at their respective places because travelling is also risky. The players from other parts of the world have already started practicing.

Events will not happen soon unless everything settles down. TTFI has published the SOP s /guidelines for conducting training and tournaments in the future.

I am training with my strength and conditioning coach Prachi Bhosale on video call. She is taking care of my physical fitness. I also have my yoga teacher who takes my yogasana . I do shadows with my coach on a video call.

Staying fit is not only on a physical level but also on a mental level. It is the overall fitness that matters.

It's very important to understand that all are facing the pandemic so it won't affect only players but everyone, it's time that we support each other in such times and not think of tournaments till India is ready to handle the situation, we can always shift the season by couple of months once we get to normalcy

It's going to be challenging and we need to give our best, as sports persons are tough mentally we should lead and motivate.

Sharath Kamal

Sharath Kamal

"I think positivity is vital in this situation time amid Covid-19", said Padma Shri awardee Sharath Kamal.

During the lockdown, I think it's really hard for us to practice and have a fitness session but fortunately, I have my Zoom sessions going on with my fitness trainer Ramji Srinivasan every morning and evening, two times a day.

Recently for the last 10-15 days, I have been able to go to my Mom's house and practice with my father or my younger brother. So I have been able to practice a little bit.

But I think at this point of time you know when things are so uncertain and we don't know what's going to happen and when the tournaments are going to happen, also when we will be back on training sessions. I think will have to try staying positive and keep looking ahead to have positive thinking in our head. I think it's really important to stay positive at this time.

Anthony Amalraj

Anthony Amalraj

"We have to understand that we can't control everything happening around", said Arjuna awardee Anthony Amalraj.

These are difficult times for everyone and I am not an exception. Of course, there is a lot of uncertainty around the world in global sport, but all I can do is use this time to work hard and improve on my skills. I am trying to maintain a positive frame of mind because eventually, we must understand that we cannot control everything happening around us.

Fitness-core, leg strength, speed workouts, back strength. On the table focusing on technical parts where all I need to improve also doing yoga and meditation as well.

Soumyadeep Roy (India Coach)

Soumyadeep Roy (India Coach)

"There is not much in our hand to change the situation", said Arjuna awardee and current India team Coach Soumyadeep Roy

I think the situation is quite similar everywhere in the world right now. We in India are in our fourth phase of lockdown. Till now, of course, there was not much scope of training, other than some robot training and fitness. From the coming week, we can start our training by following the rules.

There is not much in our hand to change the situation. We have to do our part by following the govt. directions. We have to be very careful and have to wait for some medicine or vaccine to come out.

Of course, training is affected. But nothing much to worry as the training is affected for everyone. Nobody in the world is able to train properly. We just have to be positive in this situation and stay mentally strong.


Vishal Sharma is a Delhi based sports journalist. An enthusiast who loves to travel and explore things around. He analysis sports and observe in-depth manner. He is a news and features writer on several online publications. His life is all around sports. Some of his hobbies are blogging, singing, research, travelling and meet geeks. He is a Wikipedian too.

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Story first published: Sunday, June 7, 2020, 12:16 [IST]
Other articles published on Jun 7, 2020
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