ISLAMABAD - The first-ever Pakistan Table Tennis Super League will roll into action today at Jinnah Stadium, Pakistan Sports Complex with colourful grand opening ceremony. Inter Provincial Coordination (IPC) Minister Mian Riaz Hussian Pirzada will grace the occasion as chief guest.

Talking to The Nation on Saturday, Pakistan Table Tennis Federation president Khawaja Hassan Wadood and Organising Secretary Shahid Baloch said they were conducting the league on Pakistan Super League (PSL) line and would cost Rs 20 million including Rs5million cash awards along with medals and trophies. The federation is also accommodation and  boarding lodging facility to the players, they added.

“Around 100 top professional male and female players will be seen in action as well as juniors starting from as young as 12. In the first edition eight teams Karachi Karare, Lahore Ustad, Islamabad Commander, Faisalabad Sherdil, Rawal Jugni, Multan Sufian, Peshawar Dilawar and Quetta Defenders will be seen in action. It is a three way team event and each team has two male and one female player and each team is allowed to have four players on the bench. In the first phase, only Pakistani players will be seen in action.”

They thanked IPC Minister and Acting PSB Director General Amer Ali Ahmed for their support. They said they have generated significant funds and would pay the PSB utilising the facilities. “We expect other federations to apply same policy as those who need funds and are short of finances should be facilitated.”

Wadood said when he joined the federation in 2014 as secretary, it was his and Baloch’s dream to start Table Tennis League as no one give any importance to this wonderful sport and after the launch of the league they have planned to make top international players part of the Table Tennis League in its second edition.

Wadood said he firmly believed that Pakistani people were highly sports-loving and ready to extend helping hand and one has a good plan finances are never a big problem.

He said players and officials have start arriving and top singers Atif Aslam, Rabi Pirzada and others will enthrall the audience in the mega opening ceremony. “We know that it is the very first kind of league in table tennis and let us assure people will remember this league for years and it will help players financially getting very strong. All arrangements are completed and we request both print and electronic media to give proper coverage to this wonderful sports, which had given country lot of medals in the past and with proper coverage international players will learn about the event and in the next year it will be much easy for us to convince the top professional players to come and play the league.”

When asked about parallel body and why event was cancelled and again same dates were announced, Wadood replied actually some certain elements don’t want to let table tennis flourish again. “I had got 11 votes in January this year elections. They first accepted the results but now not ready to accept the reality that we had won elections. We were so depressed that we thought to sit home but on players’ request, friends’ pressure and PSB and IPC Minister’s help we decided to go ahead as it is not the time to settle personal scores. It the time to give a message to international community that Pakistan is a peace and sports loving country and let me assure, the successful conduct of the league will further enhance the reputation of the country and full-fledge international events will return to Pakistan,” Wadood concluded.