Table Tennis has been one of the top sports in the city. There is more good news for the sport, more importantly with robots making their presence in the game, and many sponsors making a beeline for it. Rajeev Bodas, the president of the Maharashtra Table Tennis Association (MTTA) speaks to Joe Williams, about the what has made this sport spectator friendly with people coming forward to sponsor big events (international) in Mumbai. However, Pune has not seen much action in the game apart from district-level and some open events. Bodos feels the response for sponsors in Mumbai has been overwhelming, but feels bad as the state-of art infrastructure which is in Balewadi Sports Complex is underused because of the cost factor. The Directorate of Maharashtra Sports and Youth Affairs charge from Rs 25,000 to 50,000 rent per day which is beyond the limits and that is the reason why Pune cannot host any national and international events.
Q)What is that which makes the follower of this game feel good about city table tennis?
With robots and under-12 age group making entry into state level championship, table tennis tennis in the city are prime reasons for all the followers to feel good about the game which is growing and with the response we (MTTA) are getting, days are not far away when Pune will also witness international events. Apart from the CYG, and the India Open, it was in the year 2002 that Pune hosted Asian Championship.
Q)What is the reason for Pune not getting on to the global map when it comes to host international events despite Pune having the best infrastructure?
There is no doubt that the table tennis hall in Balewadi is the best and is of international standards, but unfortunately the rent charged by the state government is not within our limits and we do not get sponsors here like we do in Mumbai to meet the demand. I am sure in days to come sponsors will come forward and we will be able to host.
Q)What is the rent of the table tennis hall in Balewadi?
It is ranging from Rs 25,000 to 50,000, per day which is very costly for us (MTTA). And if the championship is for eight days, we end up paying Over Rs six lakh, just for the rent. And to host any international Rs six Crore is needed.
Q) Despite all the hurdles Pune table tennis is on the rise. What is the magic behind this magic run?
Apart from introducing the under-12 category at the state championship for the first time, the veterans of this game are players behind the success story of the game. They are all players who take part in the over 20 all Indian veteran championship around the year. It's just not that, they are back in the city coaching, and initiating youngsters all about the game. The best aspect of this is that former players are the ones who are responsible as they are sponsors of many events in the city. And that is one of the major reasons for the game to move forward in the right direction.
Q)What are the other initiatives taken by the district association to promote the game?
We picked up some of the best players from the city and sent them to an advanced coaching camp to China. And the outcome of the tour is evident from the results of the state championship where our players stand out. There are many so I don't want to name them.