GUWAHATI, June 6 � Assam had been a power house in the national table tennis scenario in 70s and 80s. Apart from producing national champion like Monalisa Baruah and finalist Arunjyoti Baruah, Assam have produced numerous talented players who were dreaded by opponents in the national circuit.
Rwittik Saikia, Nitin Changkakoti, Sanjib Saikia, Rajib Saikia, Carfew Roy, Gautam Hazarika, Nipjyoti Baruah, Anupam Konwar, Soneswar Deka, Tridib Duvarah, Modalasa Hazarika, Nandini Baruah, Rahul Dutta, Mina Bora, Moushumi Sinha, Ghritachi Hazarika, Arati Devi, Papori Hazarika and many more ruled the roost at the national level. Their opponents had to think twice to counter their services and jabs. The Padmabati Trophy in National School Games was like Assam�s property as the State girls won the trophy several years becoming national school champions.
But gone are those days. The standard of TT came down since late 80s and at present no Assam players have been able to win a national title for last several years.
The Assam Table Tennis Association (ATTA) is putting all its effort to uplift the standard of the sport in Assam. In the last couple of years ATTA has been sending players to USA for higher training. But all their efforts were in vain as State paddlers hardly could make a mark in national championships.
For instance State champion Anal Kashyap was sent to USA by ATTA in the year 2010 and last year along with Anal, Sanjana Sarma, Kakoli Lahkar and Chinku Rajkhowa were sent to USA for higher training for three years. Kakoli was also honoured by the family members of Phani Sharma with a cash incentive of Rs 1 lakh.
Ironically, non of them could neither win any national title nor reach the last-four stage. Although Sanjana has been able to retain the top position in the State, Kakoli failed to win the senior title in last two State ranking championships. Chinku is also running through a poor phase and did not win any State level title during the last two ranking meets.
Experts, former champions and coaches believe that the present batch of players hardly have any commitment towards the game as well as the State. Most of the players target the State level championships. One State coach revealed that now the senior players hardly practice for two hours a day which is not at all sufficient to attain national ranking.
A senior player believes, the players who are at the college level should go for morning workout regularly. As fitness is the basic requirement for a sportsperson, no player should neglect their fitness levels. But at present most of the senior players do not have strenuous workout sessions regularly.
Current players and the youngsters along with their guardians should take the game seriously if Assam has to get to golden days of table tennis.