The 83rd Senior National Table Tennis Championship began on a sombre note at the SAI Training Centre here in Meghalaya on Monday due to the tragic death of a 18-year-old Tamil Nadu paddler Deenadayalan Vishwa.
38 men’s and 35 women’s teams with more than 450 paddlers, the largest ever in the history of Senior Nationals is taking part in the championship organised by the Meghalaya Table Tennis Association with the support of the Meghalaya government.
Petroleum Sports Promotion Board (PSPB) and Railways Sports Promotion Board (RSPB) are the two institutional teams that made the cut as title winners of the 2019 edition.
At the inaugural ceremony, a minute’s silence was observed for Deenadayalan Vishwa, a table tennis player from Tamil Nadu, who died tragically in a car accident while travelling to Shillong from the Lokpriya Gopinath Bordoloi International Airport in Assam on Monday.
The passing away of the 18-year-old paddler from Tamil Nadu was condoled by the dignitaries on the occasion, including Meghalaya Assembly Speaker Metbah Lyngdoh, Sports and Youth Affairs, guest of honour and Sports and Youth Affairs Minister Banteidor Lyngdoh and Meghalaya Table Tennis Association (MTTA) president Robert Garnet Lyngdoh, Meghalaya State Olympic Association Working president John F Kharshiing, who all expressed shock on hearing of the accident.
“His (Vishwa) contributions will always be remembered and cherished. In this moment of grief, I with a heavy heart convey sincere and heartfelt condolences to the family,” the Sports and Youth Affairs Minister Lyngdoh said while reading out a condolence message on behalf of the Meghalaya government for Vishwa’s family.
Describing the Vishwa as a promising table tennis player, Banteidor said his death was a huge loss to the sports fraternity of India.
The minister also said that the state government was happy to support the championship, which is one of three mega-events planned for 2022, the other two being the Meghalaya Games in May and North East Olympics in October-November.
Declaring the Table Tennis championship open, Assembly Speaker Metbah Lyngdoh, said that he was very happy to see youths from all states and other teams travel to Shillong for the tournament.
“It was the success that Meghalaya has had in hosting other events that helped the Table Tennis Federation of India to grant this championship to the state and the credit has to go to the minister in charge, the Sports and Youth Affairs Department, the MTTA and others,” the Speaker said, and called on the paddlers to be role models for the youth of the country.
Earlier, welcoming the paddlers to Meghalaya, State Table Tennis Association president, Robert Lyngdoh said that he was grateful for all the teams to have come to Shillong from the far corners of the country and that he looked forward to a high standard of competition.
Dozens of matches were held today, with the team events being featured on the first day.