ISLAMABAD  - Pakistan Table Tennis Federation (PTTF) Chairman Executive Committee Shahid Baloch confirmed all the arrangements being finalised to conduct South Asian Cadet & Junior Table Tennis Championship in befitting manner.

Shahid expressed these views during an exclusive interview with The Nation on Monday. Shahid, who is also the chief organizing secretary of the event, also said that despite facing a lot of difficulties due to political situation of the capital, it was a very hard job to satisfy international teams, who looked quite reluctant to travel to Pakistan because of security situation. I assured all the participating countries they would be provided best available security and Islamabad is completely safe and sound for all kinds of sporting activities, he added.

He said he was very grateful to all the participating nations including India, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Nepal and Maldives, who sent their teams. “Bangladesh and Nepal teams had already arrived, while India, Maldives and Sri Lankan contingents will reach Islamabad late Monday night. Managers meeting will take place today. I am also very thankful to Pakistan Sports Board for providing best possible support and made excellent arrangements for the visiting teams. Nepal and Bangladeshi contingents are satisfied with the facilities.”

Shahid said Asian Table Tennis Union has given $10,000 for conducting the event while the PSB has also promised to provide Rs 2 million while all the other expenditures will be borne by the PTTF. “A total of 10 categories would be conducted during the 3-day event which include, U-18 team event, doubles event, singles event of both male and females, while in U-15 category team event and singles event of both girls and males will be held. There will be no cash prize in any of the categories but the winners will be give handsome trophies, shields, certificates and provided extra-ordinary accommodation and meal at PSB Allama Iqbal hostel for both male and female international contingents, while Pakistani male players will be given accommodation at Allama Iqbal Hostel, while female players will reside at Fatima Jinnah Hostel.”

He said the PTTF had also extended invitation to Bhutan but they did not respond and six countries including hosts Pakistan will be seen in action from 27th at Rodham Hall. “The venue is in perfect shape and all the renovation/maintenance work is completed. I am quite hopeful the matches would be held in conducive environment, the main aim of conducting this event is to promote peace, harmony and send a message of love to South Asian Countries and also show the sports loving image of Pakistan to the world.”

“We have successfully managed to win the bid in which all the major Asian countries participated in Japan in April this year. I am very grateful to Asian Table Tennis Union in reposing confidence in Pakistan and at a time when Pakistan was facing international sporting isolation, we managed to break the deadlock and invite top Asian countries to showcase their skills in front of Pakistani people. I am quite sure people will turn up to buck up local and Asian players. I am also quite convinced the successful conduct of this championship will go a long way in reviving international sports in Pakistan.”

He said Inter Provincial Coordination Minister Mian Riaz Hussain Pirzada has very kindly accepted their request to be the chief guest at the inaugural ceremony and he has assured us Prime minister Nawaz Sharif will take some time off from his very busy schedule and grace the concluding ceremony as the chief guest which shows the importance and significance of the event.

While sharing his views international umpire and organizing secretary of the championship Khawaja Hasan Wadood said PTTF had formed a jury on the instructions of ATTU to make sure free, fair conduct of the event and ensure if any objection raised against any player regarding age scrutiny or any dispute the jury will decide the entire issue. “All the participating courtiers have conducted age scrutiny and had send proves regarding respective age groups, and we are quite satisfied with the available evidences, but we have formed the jury to ensure complete transparency and justice being provided on the spot,” Hasan concluded.