Hyderabad, Aug 21 : The political storm across the State and the volatile atmosphere because of the proposed bifurcation of Andhra Pradesh has cast its shadow on the sports arena.
Due to unrest that has spilled over to the streets of Rayalseema and the coastal belt because of the agitation by Seemandhra leaders, a major table tennis event has become the first sports victim of the turmoil. Kakinada,which is among the most drastically caught in the quagmire, was to host the National Ranking Table Tennis Championship (South Zone) from September 4 to 9.
However,in view of the grim situation and as a precautionary measure, the event has been postponed to an as yet unspecified date. According to administrators from the Andhra Pradesh Table Tennis Association (APTTA) it was inevitable given the ground realities, more so because players would be coming over all the southern States. Incidentally, the venue, a state-of-the-art stadium housed inside JNTU campus is among the most sensitive and vulnerable regions.
The association is learnt to be looking beyond Kakinada to ensure that the annual calendar does not get affected. The front-runners for an alternate venue are Hyderabad, Vijayawada and Rajahmundry. Each of the three venues boasts of readymade and proven infrastructure to host an event of such a magnitude, which will witness close competition from paddlers coming from all over the South and carries prize-money of Rs 5.8 lakh.