The Dempo Group of companies has added table tennis to its sports portfolio by buying 90 per cent stake in Goa Challengers, a team in the Ultimate Table Tennis League. Sports Editor AUGUSTO RODRIGUES discussed ping pong with chairman SHRINIVAS DEMPO.
“Table Tennis is the fourth sport the Dempo Group of Companies has decided to add to its verticals. We have consciously chosen sports to be one of our verticals because for me a sport is not just valued in terms of business but because of its passion quotient,” Shrinivas Dempo told The Navhind Times in an exclusive interview.
The Dempo Group has a large footprint of football and footprints in cricket and chess. “TT is a new member in our family and we hope that, in time, the passion in our youngsters will be stirred through our commitment to Table Tennis,” stated Dempo.
Shrinivas Dempo has brought a 90 per cent in Empowerji Challengers, which has been re-christened Goa Challengers and is one of the teams in Ultimate Table Tennis (UTT) which is in its third year of existence. UTT is a Table Tennis tournament played on a league basis by six teams representing six States of India – Goa, Kolkata, Chennai, Pune, Delhi and Mumbai.
“The opportunity for youngsters has increased with the start of leagues in football and badminton and I think there is scope in TT too because it is one sport played by most youngsters in schools in Goa. So, why not invest if it could one day help our children,” said Dempo whilst charting his purpose in venturing in TT.
“The UTT is attracting the best players from all over the world. The tournament is going to be held in New Delhi this year but I have requested the organisers to host the tournament in Goa when they can. It will provide an opportunity to see the best and encourage the diehard fans of the game here,” opined Dempo.
Goa Challengers, as reported earlier, has roped in Cheng I-Ching who is ranked 8 in the world and two players ranked 3 and 7 in India. High profile Indian ping pong coach Arup Basak is part of the technical team of Goa Challengers along with Elena Timina from Netherlands.
“I do not expect overnight returns from my investment but I hope that in a few years time we will be able to have players from Goa being part of our team,” hoped Dempo.
“The tournament is expected to attract the best and I hope that it will increase the enthusiasm in TT, in Goa,” added Dempo.
“Each team will have international, national and at some later stage players from the youth category. I am looking forward to see youngsters from Goa prepare themselves to be part of the team. We have got some of the best players from the draft, not only to excel but to use it as a springboard for players in Goa. I want our children to start aspiring big with TT,” concluded Dempo.