Mumbai: Commonwealth Games silver medallist Mamta Prabhu today rued lack of proper infrastructure in the country, saying it has been a big obstacle in the development of players in the country.
Mamta was speaking at the inauguration of the 5th State Ranking Table Tennis tournament here.
Over 700 players, including Commonwealth silver medallist Madhurika Patkar, Pooja Sahasrabudhe, Sanil Shetty, Aman Balgu, Divya Deshpande and Nishad Shah will be seen in action in the five-day event.
Mamta facilities in India are not at par with other countries, especially China, a formidable name in world of table tennis.
"Whenever I have played abroad, I have seen big halls, with facilities of at least 100 tables. This is something I have seen in China, with 100 tables in one big hall and it is called a school of table tennis. You have 100 tables, with 200 kids playing and 50 coaches. This is the infrastructure that China has. This is the difference between China and other countries when it comes to table tennis," she said.
Addressing a press conference before the beginning of the matches later in the day, national table tennis coach Kamlesh Mehta said there are many challenges in the sport.
"India does not have a sports culture. The school is a road to Olympics but unfortunately, schools only focus on academics," he said.
Infrastructure continues to be a problem for the development of the sport in the country, Mehta said.
"The major challenge that one faces is the infrastructure and proper guidance for training. The child has to travel to get good training partner, that is because we do not have sufficient infrastructure. In a city like Mumbai, it is basically a club culture and if you are not a member you can not come in," the eight-time national champion said.
The participants would compete in the cadet, youth, sub-junior and open category (men and women), with a total prize money of Rs 82,700 up for grabs.