The Table Tennis Federation of India (TTFI) faces a huge test when its National championship gets underway at nearby Panchkula on Tuesday. A first-hand experience of the logical challenges faced by the host Haryana Table Tennis Association (HTTA) suggests no effort is being spared in making the event a success in spite of the pandemic.
A secure bio-bubble, scores of protocols, getting the players and officials to follow the instructions in ensuring smooth conduct of the ‘singles-only’ competition forms the core of the challenges over the next nine days.
After doing away with the team championships and the three doubles events, the TTFI is starting with the women’s singles. At the outset, only players with negative RT-PCR test reports are allowed to enter the venue.
Field of Play
The matches will be played on 12 tables. At any given time, the Field of Play (FOP) allows only 24 players, their coaches and 24 umpires besides two officials. At the conclusion of the first set of matches, the next set of 24 players and officials are ready in the “Call Area”.
Manika is top seed
In terms of the field, Manika Batra leads 16 players into the main draw where they will be joined by 48 qualifiers. In the qualifying stage, there are 47 groups of three players and one group consists of four. The group toppers advance to the knockout phase.
Though Manika is ranked as low as 18th in the National rankings after she played in the Inter-Institutional championship and skipped the rest of the domestic circuit in the previous season, the TTFI made her the top seed due to her world ranking of 63.