Our Sports Reporter
GUWAHATI: Nagen Hazarika Table Tennis Foundation (NHTTF) Academy in the city is gradually advancing to become one of the best learning schools of ping pong in Assam. Gautam Hazarika, the brain behind the academy who was also a renowned paddler, in an interaction with The Sentinel shared the journey of the academy and its future plan. Here is the excerpt.
The Sentinel (TS): How the plan to start an academy had come to your mind?
Gautam: Initially there was no plan to start a Table Tennis Academy. I bought a TT board and made a makeshift room to provide my son Aleeko Sujalo Hazarika, now one of the top-ranked players in the state, more opportunity for practice. Later local players started to come here for training and it assumed the shape of an academy.
TS: TT is in your family. Do you feel it helps a lot to establish the academy?
Gautam: Absolutely. My father Nagendra Chandra Hazarika was a renowned sports organizer and I myself played the game at top level. My two sisters Madalasa and Ghritachi too came out with flying colours in this game. So when I brought the TT table my two sisters too started to work with the young players and a positive ambience developed very quickly. After a certain period of time we decided to run the academy professionally and hired coaches. Now we have around fifty students and a few of them are from outside the state. Several senior State players are also visiting our academy on a regular basis and are taking training under our coaches.
TS: Tell us about the infrastructure of the academy.
Gautam: At present we have six TT boards in our academy. Among them three are very modern and nowadays such boards are used to host national as well as international competitions.
TS: What about the coaching staff?
Gautam: Now we have around seven local coaches and they work under the supervision of Ravi Acharya. Acharya, a top coach of the country, was earlier associated with PSPB Academy and he joined in our academy this year.
TS: Tell us about the future expansion of the academy.
Gautam: We have planned to add more facilities to make it one of the best learning schools of table tennis in the state as well as in the country. We have learnt that the Government has planned to sponsor around 500 private academies across the country to develop their infrastructure and we are in the process of enrolling our name in it. If we come under this plan it will really help us to develop the academy. We are also thinking of appointing more support staff like trainer, physio, nutritionist and others.
TS: Share the future plan of the academy?
Gautam: Our first plan is to produce an international level paddler within the next three years. It will also be a nice feeling for us if we can contribute a little to bring back the lost glory of the game in the State.
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