Ahmedabad: On the occasion of World Table Tennis Day, Gujarat State Table Tennis Association (GSTTA) felicitated some of its best paddlers that have brought laurels for the state and the country in the year 2017. Gujarat’s top paddlers Harmeet Desai and Manav Thakkar were awarded for their exemplary achievements in the previous year. The gala award function was held at The Arena by TransStadia in Ahmedabad on Friday.

Desai is first Gujarat paddler to represent India in the consecutive Common Wealth Games. Last May, he had cruised into the top-100 of the world rankings. Harmeet, at present, is shouldering medal expectations of billions of Indians at his second consecutive Common Wealth Games in Gold Coast, Australia.  Meanwhile, Manav Thakkar has been the most successful player on the junior circuit in 2017, who is currently leading India at the 31st Asian Cup Table Tennis Tournament in Japan. Manav was also named Overall Player of the Year. The proud parents of both the players had received the awards on their behalf.

“Today, I feel proud, the seeds that were sown ten years ago by the GSTTA under the dynamic leadership of Vipul Mittra has germinated into a fruit-bearing tree. GSTTA’s efforts have paid off as the infrastructure they have developed has enabled us to produce world beaters. I congratulate both Harmeet and Manav for their outstanding performance and wish others junior paddlers follow them,” said the Chief Guest of the function, Dinesh D. Kapadia Secretary, Sports Authority of Gujarat.  Other dignitaries present were Nisheet Mehta, Sr.Vice President, GSTTA,  Haresh Sangtani Secretary, GSTTA and Nitin Berry, COO, TransStadia, who graced the occasion.

Anuj Joshi and Rutva Kothari (Cadet), Chitrax Bhatt and Filzah Fatema Kadri (Sub Junior), Manush Shah and Filzah Fatema Kadri (Junior), Ishaan Hingorani and Filza Fatema Kadri (Youth) and Harmeet Desai and Frenaz Chipia (Senior) walked away with champions’ trophies. Medal winners at the National Championships Devesh Karia (senior), Jignesh Jayswal (senior), Jalay Mehta (senior) and Kaushal Bhatt (junior) also received awards for their efforts. Female paddlers, Shiney Gomes, Bhavina Patel and Prasunna Parekh (Veteran) were given honored for their respective achievements.

Acknowledging the efforts of coaches behind the successful players, GSTTA felicitated coaches. Vahed Malubhaiwala (Cadet & Sub Junior), Shailesh Gosain (Junior & Youth) and Bhaumik Oza (Senior) were the recipients of the inaugural awards. Nilay Vyas and Ankur Joshi who were coaches during Gujarat’s medal-winning effort at National Junior and Youth Championships in Durgapur also received awards.

Surat DTTA was named Overall Best District Association while Table Tennis Association of Ahmedabad walked away with Best Emerging District Association award. Gandhinagar DTTA was rewarded for organizing Best Tournament of the Season.