Due to the current Covid-19 pandemic, this year would bring about a lot of challenges in conducting table tennis tournaments, said the Secretary General of Table Tennis Association Ismail Sujau.
Speaking on RaajjeTV's “Kulhivaru File” programme, Sujau expressed that it would be difficult to do so in the few days left of this year, given that there is no separate venue to conduct table tennis tournaments.
“We conduct the tournaments now in the indoor hall of the Social Centre, which is a place where other sports are also conducted. Therefore, we have to communicate to get an opportunity for TT. The current situation may give us opportunity to have the tournament at the end of the year, however, getting the indoor hall of Social Centre will not be so easy"
~ Ismail Sujau
According to Sujau, there were four tournaments scheduled in the calendar, however, having all the tournaments this year would not be possible now. Hence, the Steering Committee is discussing on how to proceed.
Noting that there are several students in the National TT Team who are involved in secondary education, Sujau said that the availability of these players should be considered when deciding on a date to conduct the tournament, adding the possibility of the school exams being held at the end of the year, due to the current situation.
All activities were brought to a halt on March 8th, however, the National TT Team has resumed practices now. There are about 12 players in the team, and the practices are going on in two groups of six, in the morning and evening. Since TT is a sport that maintains social distancing, the HPA guidelines permits practicing with the ball. Special precautionary measures are taken during practices
~ Ismail Sujau
Being the sport that has brought the biggest achievements to the country in the international arena in the shortest period, Sujau said that a decision to not hold local tournaments would have a minimum effect on the players "as there are no international tournaments scheduled for this year".
The association was preparing for one of their biggest tournaments, the Inter-School Table Tennis Tournament, when all activities were brought to a halt due to the Covd-19 pandemic. They were forced to cancel the tournament, despite players from the atolls having already arrived in the capital for the competition.