Event Section
A cozy prelude before the tough Nationals


Indore, May 22: The unfinished Central Zone events in Under-11, 13, and 15 categories, but for the forced postponement in January because of the spike in Covid cases, would have been as crucial for the fringe boys and girls as it was during the National Ranking championships held at Dehradun to stake their claims in the 83rd Cadet and Sub-Junior National Championships that gets underway in four days.


The remaining events of the Central Zone championships may have no bearing on the selection of the state teams for the Nationals. Yet, hosts Madhya Pradesh Table Tennis Association and the Abhay Prashal Indoor Stadium are in absolute readiness with the boys’ group events kicking off tomorrow.


The ranking points gained here will, however, will help the players in the Nationals that are following. Keeping that in mind, the paddlers in the three categories in both sections will step into the arena. But a few among them that are fortunate to be a part of their state squads will have to prove their mettle more than others.


None of the 79 under-11 boys, having played just a solitary tournament at Dehradun, will have an advantage of direct entry into the main draw as all of them will have to play the qualifying events. Twenty-six boys from as many groups will qualify for the second stage draw. However, eight top-ranked boys each in the U-13 and U-15 categories have gained direct main-draw access, while the rest—159 in u-13 and 184 in u-15—will vie with one another and secure the top slots in their groups to enter the knockout place.


Once the boys’ group engagements get over, the girls enter the fray—83 of them in under-11, 161 in under-13, and 171 in under-15. Except for the first category, the top-eight girls in the next two will have direct entry into the second stage and expect the qualifiers to join them in the knockout slugfest.


Serving as a lead-up to the Nationals beginning May 26, the three-day event will witness a hectic schedule, stretching beyond 9 p.m. for both the players and officials, drawn locally. According to competition manager N. Ganeshan, veteran Anil Dubey will be the referee while his deputy will be Mangesh Mopkar.


“The schedule will be very hectic for the players and the officials and we will use 21 Stag Americas’ tables and the GK and Stag balls,” he added.