Table Tennis is one of the rapidly growing indoor sports of India. Apart from the professional sportspersons, the game is also extensively played in schools, colleges and universities, wherein various competitions.
Establishment of the Table Tennis Federation of India (TTFI) happened in Calcutta in 1937. It has since been an active member of the International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF). The TTFI has taken various measures to promote the sport of Table Tennis. India has produced a number of quality players like Sharath Kamal, Manika Batra, Soumajit Ghosh, Paulomi Ghatak and Mouma Das.
India hosted its first World Championship back in Mumbai, 1952 and became the first Asian country to Host a Table tennis World Championships. It has also hosted two more table tennis world Championships- Mumbai in 1952, Kolkata in 1975 and New Delhi in 1987. Indian table tennis players were sent to the Seoul Olympic Games in 1988, to represent India and it was this year when table tennis was included in Olympics for the first time. Thereafter, the country delivered remarkable performances in the international events, both at the individual and team levels.
Major Domestic Table Tennis Tournaments in India
The Table Tennis Federation of India (TTFI), recently signed a 10-year contract with Mumbai based Eleven Sports PVT. LTD. (ESPL) for the promotion and development of the game of Table Tennis. Together the with Association it attempts to popularize the sport of Table Tennis across all segments of society – from Schools to Corporates, Amateurs to Professionals, Rural to Urban. Some of the major Table Tennis Events they host together are:
The Inter-school championships is a talent search tournament, held all over India by the Eleven Sports Pvt Ltd, on behalf of the TTFI. The event is an Inter School Competition amongst all types of schools affiliated to various Boards (except Open School). This competition is a yearly event and is conducted in two Stages-
- Stage 1 – State Championship: It is conducted in one city of each State of India. The city is most probably the capital of the respective States. The winning Team in this stage enters the ‘State Inter School Champion’ in that category.
- Stage 2 – National Championship: One State Champion Team from each State in each category qualifies for the National Championships that is conducted as Stage 2. The winning Team in this Stage is the ‘National Inter-School Champion’ in that category.
The Inter-Institutional Championships is an annual table tennis tournament organised for different Government sector agencies. Categories in the event are Men’s Team, Women’s Team, Youth Boy’s Team, Youth Girls’ Team, Men’s Singles, Women’s Singles, Men’s Doubles, Women’s Doubles and Mixed Doubles. The 2018 edition was held in Coimbatore and winners of the individual and team events are eligible to represent them and their team at the Senior National Championship. The open events of the Inter-Institutional championships will be treated at par with Zonal Championships.
The Winners of 2018 Inter-Institutional Championships in both Men and Women is Petroleum Sports Promotion Board.
National TT ranking Championships
The National Table Tennis Ranking Championships occur in Five Zones- North, South, East, West and Center. Furthermore, they are divided into different categories according to their age range- Cadet (U12), Sub-Junior (U14), Junior (U16), Youth (U19) and Senior (Men/women). Events in the tournament are Men’s Singles, Women’s Singles, Youth Boys Singles, Youth Girls Singles, Junior Boys Singles, Junior Girls Singles Sub-Junior Boys Singles, Sub-Junior Girls Singles,
Cadet Boys Singles and Cadet Girls Singles. Eligibility for this competition is
- Winner/Runner-up in the last nationals of the respective events: 12 entries all events.
- The third-placed in the last nationals of the respective events: 10 entries all events.
- The teams placed until 5th: 9 entries all events.
- Rest of the associations: 8 entries for all events.
This tournament enables the TTFI to create rankings that ease the process of selection
Sub Junior and Cadet National Championships
This Annual tournament happens, once the TTFI has ranks players from all the five zones. It usually happens around the end of the year. The 2017 edition was the 79th edition of the tournament. TTFI conducts this National Championship for the Cadets (U12) and Sub Junior (U14) category. Events in the tournament are:
- Sub Junior– Boys Team Championships; Girls Team Championships; Boys Singles; Girls Singles; Boys Doubles and Girls Doubles.
- Cadets– Boys Team Championships; Girls Team Championships; Boys Singles; Girls Singles; Boys Doubles and Girls Doubles.
The Winners of 2017 Sub Junior and Cadet National Championships held in December 2017, Goa are:
- Sub Junior- Boys: Maharashtra; Girls: Petroleum Sports Promotion Board
- Cadets– Boys: Tamil Nadu; Girls: Maharashtra
Junior and Youth National Championships
The Junior and Youth National Championships happen for Boys and girls in the U16 and U19 age group respectively. This annually held tournament has players from state federations as well as winners from the Inter-Institutional Championships held earlier. The 79th Edition of the tournament was held in Durgapur in January 2018. Events in the tournament are:
- Junior– Boys Team Championships; Girls Team Championships; Boys Singles; Girls Singles; Boys Doubles and Girls Doubles.
- Youth– Boys Team Championships; Girls Team Championships; Boys Singles; Girls Singles; Boys Doubles and Girls Doubles.
The Winners of 2017 Junior and Youth National Championships held in January 2018, Durgapur are:
- Junior- Boys: Petroleum Sports Promotion Board; Girls: West Bengal
- Youth- Boys: Petroleum Sports Promotion Board; Girls: R.B.I
Senior National Championships
The Senior National Championships is an Annual Table Tennis Competition. It is the Topmost domestic competition held by the TTFI. The Latest edition was held in January 2018, Ranchi. This tournament also follows a similar format to the previous two championships. Events in the tournament are Singles: Men and Women; Doubles: Men and Women and Mixed doubles. Furthermore, they have Men’s Team Championships and Women’s Team Championship.
The Winner of the 79th Senior National Championship held in January 2018, Ranchi is:
- Men’s and Women’s Team Championships: Petroleum Sports Promotion Board
- Singles– Men: Sharath Kamal; Women: Sutirtha Mukherjee
- Doubles- Men: Soumyajit Ghosh and Jubin Kumar; Women: Mousumi Paul and Krittwika Sinha
- Mixed Doubles: Raj Mondal and Akula Sreeja
All These tournaments are attempting to popularize the sport of Table Tennis across all segments of society – from Schools to Corporates, Amateurs to Professionals, Rural to Urban. According to the August 2018 ITTF rankings, India is ranked in the 19th position for both Men and Women teams. Achanta Sharath Kamal is the topmost ranked Indian, placed on 33rd Position. Gnanasekaran Sathiyan joins him in the top 50, with a rank of 39. Manika Batra is the only women in the top 100, sitting on the 57th position.