“The interest of players and public will increase now that there is a team from Goa in Ultimate Table Tennis (UTT) because the involvement of corporate in any sports provides a sense of security to player and parents,” Christopher Menezes, former national Table Tennis player and member of the Executive Committee of Goa Table Tennis Association (GTTA) said in conversation with The Navhind Times.
“There is plenty of talent in the cadets and junior section. However, it was difficult to nurture that talent as parents normally decided that children to concentrate on studies instead of TT as they was no corporate backing. I am sure the situation will change with Mr. Dempo deciding to buy a major stake in Goa challengers,” opined Christopher.
“Table Tennis is an attractive game. Like many sports, it is the mental quotient that takes a player past the finishing line. If Dempo hopes that Goa challengers will have a player from Goa in the team in three years, that dream will come true because we have talent waiting to perform on the big stage,” professes the former TT star of Goa.
“I was sponsored by Dempo SC when I was a player,” added Christopher.
“To start with, I hope players from Goa will get symbolic representation in Goa Challengers. They should be able to get exposure and hopefully may get some emoluments which will be big because at the moment they are getting nothing. The opportunity to interact with big players will be the stepping stone,” thinks Christopher.
“Naguesh Veremkar and Anshuman Agarwal are India ranked sub junior players whilst Wesley Rosario is junior ranked. These three and Santesh Mhapshekar are four boys from Goa waiting to burst at the national stage. Their parents are investing heavily on their children. Investing is one aspect, getting an opportunity to play at the top level is another which is out of bound of parents. This will change now that there is a team from Goa in UTT,” confesses Christopher.
“The Goa Government should start categorising sports into priority and general so that funds are diverted towards sports that can benefit the youth. There are games with no long term benefit to youngsters that are equally funded with sports that offer no windows of growth. This has to change,” stated Christopher when asked to pinpoint factors that reduced TT from a popular sport to one that is shun by the public.
“Late Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar had shown interest and had formed a committee to study the matter of prioritizing funding to sports. We have met the present Chief Minister and hope he will take a cue from it,” observed Christopher.
“The GTTA will be hosting eight major tournaments in Goa this season and an idea has been mooted where we intend to have tournaments with teams from Goa, Maharashtra and Karnataka. The idea is to give all maximum exposure. The idea is to have a league with teams from all the three States,” disclosed Christopher.