The Table Tennis Nationals which was worked off at the S. Thomas’ College Mount Lavinia gymnasium last weekend came under the flack of players, parents and spectators due to the inadequacies of the organizers.
The tournament was subject to a temporary halt on the final day of the tournament as a result of grieved parents staging a protest at the venue in favour of their children.
Matches were stopped for over an hour due to the commotion. An informed source said that the draw was flawed and had to be rescheduled thrice which resulted in some players being favoured and others getting a raw deal.
It is reported that most players were not pleased with the final draw. It is also said that the person who made the final draw had not been present at the venue to handle the complaints of grieved parties.
Tempers which were simmering at the venue boiled to the surface when a player from Ambalangoda was disqualified from the tournament for arriving late for a match. At this juncture some parents who were believed to be from Ambalangoda sat on the tournament floor along with their children and disrupted the tournament. Sanity prevailed only after the police arrived and intervened in the matter.
Former national player Lalith Priyantha and past president of the TTASL, who contested the veterans’ segment of the tournament, told Nation that such an ugly incident had never happened at a national before.
Acting President of the TTASL Niranjan Abeysena when contacted acknowledged that there was a commotion inside the venue and the assistance of the police was obtained to bring the situation under control. According to Abeysena, a section of the crowed believed to be parents, had orchestrated the protest. He said that this type of trend must be nipped in the bud. “I as the tournament committee chairman will report this to the executive committee of the TTASL so that they can decide what future action can be taken,” Abeysena said when contacted. Abeysena said that the commotion had occurred after a player arrived late and a walkover was presented to his opponent. He refused to believe that rescheduling the draw contributed to the ugly scene because he had obtained the signatures of the top rated 16 players in support of the new draw before matches commenced on Saturday. Several other players listed to contest matches had given away walkovers following the incident.