An ambitious project that targets to train one million table tennis players from across the country by 2020, titled ‘TTFI-Stag One million players by 2020’, will kick off from Pune soon. The project is a joint initiative of Table Tennis Federation of India (TTFI) and STAG India.
Chairman of STAG Rakesh Kohli said, “Our dream is to hone talents at the grassroot level and produce an Olympic champion from India in table tennis. To fulfill this dream, TTFI and STAG have jointly launched this comprehensive programme across the country to foster the growth of sport and promote it at the grassroot level.”
He added that STAG will be organising 20,000 camps in the next five years. Each camp shall have around 60 players. “We would have 1.2 million players out of which one million players will be freshers,” he said.
Two to three players from each camp will be selected for training at the district level. From there, players will be selected for the state academies and then for the national level. These academies shall be equipped with advanced training methods and supported by international coaches. “We believe that in a due course, we shall possess a team of players with the potential to become world and Olympic champions from India,” he said, adding that the camp module has been designed by five-time world champion Peter Karlsson.
Former international player Bhushan Thakur, who has been appointed as the project head, said, “The biggest challenges in execution of this humongous programme is to seek right-minded institutions that are eager and capable of participating in this initiative and are willing to promote coaching camps at their premises. Second challenge is to hire enough suitable coaches to support the camps, and third is to provide enough quality equipment to promote this ambitious programme.”
STAG will also help in conducting a five-day introductory table tennis camp. The company would provide a professional coach and fees for the expert, including travel cost; two TTFI-approved TT tables, and one TT table will be provided for the camp on returnable basis. Sixty rackets with ITTF-approved rubbers will be provided at a special price of Rs 350 per racket in addition to six dozen one-star plastic balls and 30 surrounds. A robot training machine would be provided for the duration of the camp. The institution would need to ensure the enrolment of a minimum of 50 participants to host the camp.