India's brilliant performance in CWG 2018 has provided platform for Table Tennis to grow, says ITTF CEO

India delivered its best performance in TT at the CWG, bagging a record haul of eight medals, including an unprecedented gold in the women's team and singles event. The star of the stellar campaign was Manika Batra, who ended with four medals including two gold.

Press Trust of India July 24, 2018 15:08:41 IST
India's brilliant performance in CWG 2018 has provided platform for Table Tennis to grow, says ITTF CEO

New Delhi: Indian paddlers' historic performance at the 2018 Commonwealth Games has provided a brilliant platform to further grow the sport in the country, feels International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF) CEO Steve Dainton.

India delivered its best performance in TT at the CWG, bagging a record haul of eight medals, including an unprecedented gold in the women's team and singles event. The star of the stellar campaign was Manika Batra, who ended with four medals including two gold.

"India has the 2nd largest population in the World, and TT is a relatively popular sport here. If the market is to grow in India, then we need more top-class players playing at the highest level," Steve told PTI in an interview.

"Winning three gold medals at the CWG is a good start, it has really taken the imagination of the sport to the people and now we have to take the next step."

Indias brilliant performance in CWG 2018 has provided platform for Table Tennis to grow says ITTF CEO

Representational photo. AFP

Paired with the the CWG performance, the advent of a professional league, Ultimate Table Tennis (UTT), provides the players with the "much needed exposure" and Steve feels Indians have emerged as the dark horses.

"With Ultimate Table Tennis providing the exposure to the players, clubbed with high-performance programs with international coaches, the Indians have been on a roll."

"I really hope that UTT grows. However, UTT is still two years old, a baby, and to be able to execute an event of such a magnitude is a truly commendable feat. The level of players who are coming in is pretty good."

Steve also lavished praise on India chief national coach Massimo Costantini and expressed his desire to work with the Italian. "I really like the head coach from Italy, I hope we can work with him also in the future. He could maybe also help us with our future projects because there aren't a lot of people that have been able to go outside their country and bring different styles and that's really a successful story," he said.

Although India's confidence has also been boosted by the new ranking, under which as many as six paddlers had recently featured in the top 100, the ITTF has received a lot of flak from traditional powerhouses like China. Defending the decision, Steve says it was a commercial move.

"The broadcasters want the best players, the sponsors want the best players and the new world ranking encourages the best to play at top events. It's quite simple, you need ranking that supports your products, which are our major events.

"Our past philosophy provided a ranking at a technical level but that didn't necessarily support our product because the former ranking meant that one didn't need to play all the events, as soon as one got a high ranking they could miss events. And that doesn't help grow the commercial products," he explained.

Taking inspiration from the Badminton World Federation which has been successful in popularising the sport, Steve feels this is the right time to broaden TT's horizon by tapping in on the social media age.

"In the 1960s when television became a key part of how sports was presented around the world, we (ITTF) didn't take the necessary steps that time to move on the new trend. However, we are catching up now in this new age of Social media. I believe Table Tennis is an extremely viewer-friendly sport and will gradually pick up like tennis and badminton." he said.

Updated Date:

Find latest and upcoming tech gadgets online on Tech2 Gadgets. Get technology news, gadgets reviews & ratings. Popular gadgets including laptop, tablet and mobile specifications, features, prices, comparison.

also read

US Open champion Bryson DeChambeau brings beefed up game back to TPC Summerlin
Sports

US Open champion Bryson DeChambeau brings beefed up game back to TPC Summerlin

A win this week might bear little resemblance to his 2019 victory, with DeChambeau saying he could reach as many as four of the course's par-fours off the tee and can certainly reach all of the par-fives in two.

Former Wimbledon semi-finalist Julia Goerges announces retirement from tennis aged 31
Sports

Former Wimbledon semi-finalist Julia Goerges announces retirement from tennis aged 31

Goerges reached her highest ranking of ninth in the world in 2018 and was ranked 45th at her retirement. Her most recent match was a second-round loss to fellow German Laura Siegemund at the French Open.

Sathiyan Gnanasekaran interview: 'I feel like a different player after my training sessions during lockdown'
Sports

Sathiyan Gnanasekaran interview: 'I feel like a different player after my training sessions during lockdown'

Sathiyan Gnanasekaran talks about training against a robot during the first few months of the lockdown, working on his serve-and-receive game, and finding some light even in a dark year.