Hyderabad: The year has begun on a stupendous note for the entire table tennis fraternity in Telangana State. An unprecedented distinction was achieved by the most happening paddler, S Fidel R Snehit, who accomplished a historic World No 64 ranking in the Under-18 Junior Boys category in the list released by the global governing body, International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF) on Tuesday. He aggregated 1230 points to corner glory.
SFR Snehit with coach S Raman
Incidentally, his majestic showing braving several odds also exposes a major lacuna that prevails in the country, particularly because of the indifferent attitudes of the people in power. For the records, no teenaged male from either Andhra Pradesh or Telangana has reached this exalted position.
The first Telugu boy to represent India in World Junior TT Championships held in Italy, he created a record of sorts in a recent national ranking tournament by beating the higher-ranked Manav Thakkar in the junior boys finals.
"I am happy with this world ranking. I thank my coach at Chennai, Raman Sir and my mentor in Hyderabad Somnath (Ghosh) sir for helping me reacg the exalted positions. This will be just the springboard to my future plans," Snehit said soon after the announcement was made.
He thanked Telangana State TT Association Secretary P Prakash Raju, Hyderabad District Association President A Narasimha Rao and other officials for their support. He did not forget to acknowledge the ‘words of encouragement’ that came courtesy of Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan Public School's Senior Principal C Ramadevi, vice-principal Sashikala and other teachers.
Although, the management and patrons of Global Table Tennis Academy (GTTA), the Hyderabad-headquartered academy from where Snehit learnt the basics of the game, did celebrate Snehit’s coming of age, a bit of remorse was all too evident.
What is tragic is that the State Government has done previous little to sports talents from the supposedly less glamourous disciplines, like table tennis. To put it bluntly, Manav Thakkar , who is at World No 18 in the same category and Manush Shah (No 47), did not have to bother much about either monetary requirements or infrastructural support.
The Gujarat government handles both the crucial departments with aplomb. In contrast, the middle-class parents of Snehit, have to raise enough funds to sustain the prodigious boy’s run. It has been so critical a component that in the absence of resources, the hugely-gifted boy had to skip some tournaments while the Gujarat players were better placed to participate in an ample number and up their tally in the points table.
It is time the Telangana State government, which talks of giving impetus to talented sportspersons, should think of champion performers from disciplines beyond cricket, badminton and tennis. The sooner this change of heart comes about the better it is for the likes of boy-wonder Snehit, whose milestones are as equally significant and trail-blazing.