ISLAMABAD - Pakistan number two female table tennis player Ayesha Ansari came down hard on Pakistan Table Tennis Federation (PTTF) terming their training camps and coaching for international events as highly unsatisfactory, and the main reason behind their downfall.

Talking to The Nation, Ayesha said: “Last time in 2006, highly helpful training camp was established by the federation for the SAF Games, which helped the country and players a great deal in showing their skills and talent and left mark on international stage, but since then there is not a single top quality camp witnessed.”

“It is not right to condemn senior male and female players without any sound reason. I strongly recommend junior players should get training while playing with senior players, which will help them and also seniors. Junior players can take great advantage of minimizing their errors and learn new tricks while playing alongside senior players. When the senior players have been winning and not getting serious threats from juniors, how is it possible they can even think about replacing senior players. Juniors must have to work hard.

“I have been playing table tennis for the last 15 years. I started playing table tennis at my school in Gujrat and took keen interest in the game. My passion, dedication and hard work helped me a lot to excel at higher level. I am regular member of Pakistan table tennis team since 2005 and now it’s almost a decade of representing green color at international level, but I never stopped practicing hard even then and every day, I consider I have to put more efforts and raise the standard of my game to be able to cling onto national team spot,” she added.

Ayesha said: “I won silver medal in 2005 in Islamic Games in Iran, won bronze medal in 2006 SAF Games in Sri Lanka, added another bronze medal to my tally at Bangladesh SAF Games in 2010, I won three gold medals in national games in Peshawar in 2010, won three gold medals in national games in Lahore in 2013. I have won loads of national and international medals and represent Wapda and always play leading role in helping my department win medals.

“It is quite strange and discouraging that we only get opportunity to play one or maximum two international events in a year and as compare to India, we participate in very less table tennis activities. Indians also undergo training round the year, which help them a lot in winning medals at international level. They have also better facilities and enjoy huge sponsorships. We also need to improve our infrastructure, facilities and sponsorship which are the key for our players to earn medals at international levels,” she added. About her department, Ayesha said: “Wapda has provided me and other players with jobs, and they also provide us with TA/DA during national events, but we get not a single penny when it comes to playing at international level.”

“I request sponsors to pay heed towards other sports like table tennis and lend helping hand to players, as it is the only sport in which highly-educated players coming forward and representing the country. Other institutes must follow Wapda’s example and provide jobs to players, so that they may completely focus on game rather than running from post to pillar to arrange bread and butter for their families,” Ayseha concluded.