Faridabad: Former World champion Peter Karlsson believes that strength of India's table tennis talent pool has become a reason of envy for many nations, but lack of proper infrastructure and coaching mechanism has been holding the country back.
Interacting with mediapersons here after a three-day coaching clinic under the aegis of Manav Rachna Trust in association with STAG, the 43-year-old said that India's talent pool was just second to China in terms of numbers but emphasised "knowledge, structure and planning" was required to transform this talent into champions.
"India is doing good at the moment. There is a lot of potential, particularly the way juniors are shaping up. The challenge, however, lies in the effort that is required to take the juniors to the senior level," the former Olympian said.
"The players need to be very professional in their approach, they need to be sincere towards their game and need to work very hard. I can come and share my experience and knowledge with them but they also need to work at their respective academies, every single moment of the day, every single day...that is how you can improve," he insisted.
Karlsson stressed that there was a need to work on the combined approach of providing the necessary exposure to the upcoming paddlers and also getting in the foreign expertise to India.
"The combination is always important, the players should travel abroad for necessary exposure and foreign coaches should be brought to India as well. When the players return they will bring along with them the knowledge which can help other players to grow."
Karlsson also insisted that there was also a need to train the coaches, which will further lift the profile of the game in India. The Swede rued the lack of infrastructure in the country but said things have begun to improve.
"Things have begun to improve, but there is still a lot to be done. Also something needs to be done to ensure that there are enough quality coaches at the grassroot level," he said.
During the workshop, Karlsson coached about 100 students from around Faridabad and National Capital Region (NCR) in two sessions and worked on their basic techniques.
Vice president of Manav Rachna Educational Institution, Amit Bhalla, said they were looking to work with Karlsson on a long term basis to create a "high performance training centre in North India at their facility".
"Our aim is not to just run a coaching center for table tennis players. But we are also designing a course for coaches with the help of STAG and Karlsson and hope to contribute whole-heartedly in the development of table tennis in the country," Bhalla said.