Shri K.B. Bahuleyan, Chairman, Organizing Committee,Shri Justice (Retd.) J.B. Koshy, President, National Council forYMCAs of India,

Shri V.C. Asokan, Chief General Manager, Indian Oil Corporation,

Shri Achantha Sharath Kamal, Olympian, Recipient of Arjuna Award and Padma Shri,

Ms. A. Radhika Suresh, Olympian and National Champion,

Shri Michael Mathai, Organizing Secretary,

Shri V. Sunil Kumar, President, Kerala Olympic Association,

Shri N. Ganeshan, General Convenor, Organizing Committee,

Shri Shaji James, Joint General Convenor, Organizing Committee,

Dear Coaches, Officials and Players,

Sahodaree Sahodaranmare,

Ellaavarkkum Ente Namaskaaram.


       I am delighted to inaugurate the South Zone National Ranking Table Tennis Tournamentorganized by Table Tennis Association of Keralain association with Trivandrum District Table Tennis Association.

       Let me at the outset, appreciate the efforts of the State as well as District Table Tennis Associations for hosting this national level tournament in Thiruvananthapuram. Ever since its inception in 1952 as the Travancore Cochin Table Tennis Association, with the Late Col. Godavarma Rajaas President, this Association has been actively engaged in the popularization of this sport. Significantly enough, the Association could conduct a national championship in 1953 itself, with the participation of one hundred players from different States. I am informed that so far, the Kerala Table Tennis Association has organized four national level championships by ensuring maximum participation. I believe that it was the successful conduct of these Tournaments which prompted the Table Tennis Association of India to entrust the conduct of this tournament with the State Association. I am glad that this time, more than one thousand players from 43 different places and institutions are taking part in this Tournament.

       It is said that the popular indoor game of Table Tennis is among the fastest games played in the world today. Though its field is confined to a table in a room, it has been scientifically proven that playing Table Tennis, enhances the player’s brain activity faster than other sports. Since it s an indoor game, it can be played during all seasons.  At the same time, this game requires tremendous amount of stamina and mental alertness. The swift movement of the body improves the players’ ability makes the body more flexible.

       It is common knowledge that any sport, especially in India, can be promoted only if young people develop a genuine interest in it. And, interest would be developed only when the game becomes rewarding in some way or other. Those who select cricket or football as their profession get better financial security and attention than those who play the national game of hockey. I strongly believe that the commercialization of popular games has resulted in many other useful games being sidelined. However, it is satisfying to know that this Tournament involves a total Prize money of Rs. Eight Lakhs.

       It was to create such genuine interest in sports among young people that our Hon’ble Prime Minister had initiated the Khelo India Programmethrough the Ministry of Sports and Youth affairs. Its aim is to revive the sports culture in India at grass-root level, by building a strong framework for all sports played in our country and establish India as a great sporting nation. With the vision of infusing a sports culture and paving the way for sporting excellence in the country, Khelo Indiahas been inspiring many young people to pursue some sport or the other with utmost seriousness.

       From what I have understood about the status of Table Tennis in India and Kerala, we are yet to ensure the participation of players from the lower income families. There may be very talented players in villages but, financial difficulties, lack of awareness or absence of good training may be preventing them from coming forward to play this game.

       However, with India bagging gold medals at the international level in Table Tennis, I am told that there has been a renewed interest in playing Table Tennis. This is a good sign, and the presence of famous and successful players like Shri Achantha Sharath Kamal, is truly encouraging. As we all know, he is the first Table Tennis player to receive the Padma Shri. I am happy that former National Champion and Olympian Ms. Radhika Suresh will also be an inspiring presence at this Tournament. Their presence and encouragement will serve to inspire our players to perform well and get selected to the Teams for various international tournaments.


       I also welcome all the participants of this Tournament and wish them success. I would like to tell them that the participation in any game should not be limited to the securing of an admission or a job. We must love the game we are playing and take the spirit of the game to more places and people. If some of you could develop your skills as coaches, it will be very useful in promoting the game in our smaller towns and villages. It will also help to address the issue of paucity of coaches at the international level.

       I would like to conclude by suggesting that sports persons should serve society as brand ambassadors of a healthy life style. I say this because, of late, many life style diseases have begun to eat into the health of our younger generation. It is high time the message of a healthy living and regular exercises reached our people through our players and athletes.

       You have reached Kerala at a time when we have been shaken by heavy rains and floods, but this city is comparatively free from such problems. I hope you will get time to enjoy the lush greenery of Kerala and to get acquainted with the life style and world vision of our people.

       Let me once again wish all players good luck and remind them that winning is not the most important aspect of sports. See every failure as a learning experience and enjoy the spirit of participation and competition with equal interest.

       I compliment the organizers for conducting this programme in a befitting manner.


Ellavarkkum Ente Aashamsakal


Jai Hind