A new team mostly comprising players from the ethnic minority groups was centre of all attraction as Dhaka Metropolitan First Division Table Tennis League got underway on Wednesday.
Quantum Foundation, a charitable organisation dedicated to personal growth and serving humanity which has branches countrywide, unveiled the team as part of its continuous effort to engage students of its schools in different sporting activities.
Bangladesh Table Tennis Federation said it had allowed the team directly in the first division league, considering the huge potentiality of players, who all competed in Junior National Championship last year.
Paaoung Bawm of Bandarban, who became eighth in the Junior National Championships last year, said he was with Quantum Foundation since 2008 and initially preferred football and cricket before turning his attention to table tennis.
‘Initially I wanted to play to football or cricket when I came to Quantum’s school,’ said Paaoung. ‘But they were not included in our curriculum. So I chose table tennis and now it has become my passion,’ said Paaoung.
Paaoung, a class X student of Quantum Cosmo School, took his first serious lesson of table tennis from South Korean coaches Kim Sung Hun and Kim Su Gun, who were recruited by the federation last year for six months to train young players in different districts.
‘Our standard was not so good initially, but we learnt a lot from our Korean coaches who guided us for one-and-half month last year in our institution at Bandarban,’ Paaoung told New Age.
Rahmin Lian Bawm, also from Bandarban, was excited after playing his first match of the league though he lost the opening game to an Indian player of the opponent team.
‘It’s a great experience for us to play at such a level and it will help us boost our confidence surely,’ he said.
Christopher Nangminja, Pro-organiser of Quantum Foundation, said all but eight players of their men’s team came from different ethnic minority groups.
‘Nearly 70 boys and girls are regularly practice table tennis in Lama of Bandarban. We have chosen the best of them to form our team,’ he said.
Apart from table tennis, Quantum Foundation is also taking part in the first division handball league, national championships in kho kho, archery, gymnastics and youth national championship in kabaddi.
Want stories like this in your inbox?
Sign up to exclusive daily email
More Stories from Miscellany