by Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Editor
Overall 18 young players attended; the hosts provided five boys and four girls, two boys and two girls travelled from Sri Lanka, whilst from India there was one boy and one girl; from Pakistan one boy and two girls.
India very much led the way with Preyesh Suresh Raj and Suhana Saini winning the respective Boys’ Singles and Girls’ Singles titles at the Challenge tournament. Notably Preyesh Suresh Raj had qualified for the 2017 World Hopes Week but had been unable to compete in Luxembourg owing to visa problems. The respective runners up were Pakistan’s Umar Amjad Khan and Sri Lanka’s Chameesha Thushadhi Dulhari Yodhage.
“Regarding the boys, the Sri Lankan, named Sandarun Oshan caught the eye, he has great possibilities; also the Sri Lankan girl, Chameesha Thushadhi Dulhari Yodhage impressed.” Parinya Nonsagate
Worthy performances from foreign shores but equally players from the host nation attracted the attention.
“The Maldives’ players, both boys and girls, showed strong determination. Also the coach is also very impressive. The four nations present are very different. India is a large country and has more players; so, the other players can learn more from Indian players. It was really a good opportunity to learn from the peer group.” Parinya Nonsagate
Eight Stag tables were available with suitable lighting and a court mat. The a venue that may not quite have met the requirements of an international tournament but it was more than sufficient for the Hopes initiative.
“The hosts were very co-operative and determined. The Sports Minister came to the training camp to present the certificates to the participants and expressed his willingness to support table tennis. The event was broadcast in the news; very promising for table tennis.” Parinya Nonsagate
Perhaps not quite ready at the moment but members of the Maldives Table Tennis Association are seeking a venue in which a major event can be staged.
They are learning all the time; an international tournament in the idyllic Indian Ocean island. It sounds more than attractive!