The top table tennis players of the country were deprived of an opportunity to show their skill in the ongoing Federation Cup Ranking Tournament as major clubs snubbed the tournament.
The four-day long tournament got underway on Sunday with the participation of 16 teams.
Most of the top Premier League clubs — including last year’s league champions Arunima Sportswear, runners-up Sishiron TT Club, Palalick Group, Sheikh Russell Krira Chakra — didn’t show their interest to participate.
Among the 12 top-ranked players of the country, only Mahbub Billah, Mohammad Rocky, Hasib Hossain and Ripon Hossain got teams to play in the tournament.
Among them Mahbub, Rocky and Hasib are representing Bangladesh Army while Ripon is playing for Stride School team — an amateur club, which never competed at any top-level tournament before.
Manosh Chowdhury, the current top-ranked player of the country, didn’t get any proposal from any of the participating clubs.
Manosh, who earned Tk 40,000 last year by playing this tournament for ANH Enterprise, expressed his frustration after watching most of the top teams refusing to participate.
‘League and Fed Cup are our only source of income but top clubs didn’t take part in the Fed Cup this time,’ Manosh, who, left without any club, decided to play in individual category.
‘Except some services teams like Bangladesh Army and Biman Bangladesh Airlines, other clubs formed their teams with some low-ranked players effectively for free.’
Only three clubs among 11 Premier League teams are taking part in the tournament but they didn’t pick any top players in their side.
Manosh said if the trend continued it would create a negative impact on the game.
‘Such practice will destroy the game because in future the young players will lose their interest in the game,’ he said.
Saidul Haq Sadi, the vice-president of the Bangladesh Table Tennis Federation, also expressed his frustration over the situation.
‘I think we are equally responsible for that matter because we failed to convince the top teams to play this major tournament,’ he said.
BTTF general secretary Khandoker Hasan Munir was also sympathised with the players but said fund crisis prompted most of the clubs to avoid the tournament.
‘I have convinced some top clubs and services teams to play in this tournament but some top clubs told that they have money only for forming teams in the league,’ he said.
‘To avoid similar situation in future, we are considering to make the tournament compulsory for the all Premier League clubs and national championship clubs and teams.’
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