LAHORE: Secretary Sports and Youth Affairs Punjab AsadullahFaiz along with Director General Sports Punjab Muhammad Tariq Qureshi inaugurated Sports Board Punjab’s first ever table tennis academy here at Nishtar Park Sports Complex Gymnasium Hall here on Tuesday. Director Sports NadeemQaiser, Director Youth Affairs Syed Omair Hasan, Deputy Director RaufBajwa, Administrator NPSC Gymnasium Hall Mustfa Shah and a large number of table tennis players were also present on this occasion. Secretary Sports and Youth Affairs Punjab AsadullahFaiz and Director General Sports Punjab Muhammad Tariq Qureshi also witnessed exhibition table tennis matches on this occasion. The parents can register their children for training at the table tennis academy where head coach SAF Games silver medalistYasir Iqbal Bhatti will impart training to young male and female players in two sessions daily. Speaking on the occasion, Secretary Sports Punjab said that the launching of table tennis academy is part of our talent hunt campaign and through this drive we are aiming to unearth fresh talent from across the province. “The prime objective of this initiative is to find emerging players from all parts of the province. At our academy, we are emphasizing on the grooming of U-10 and U-12 table tennis players”. He said that Sports Board Punjab is planning to launch academies of 10 prioritised games at district level in future. “After finding talented players from different districts, they will be further nurtured in Lahore under the supervision of qualified coaches for future national and international events”. AsadullahFaiz further said that expert coaches will train the players and prepare them for international competitions. “With the establishment of academies, several budding players will emerge who will win laurels for the country”. Director General Sports Punjab Muhammad Tariq Qureshi said that Sports Board Punjab’s focus is to prepare Under-10, U-13 and U-14 players from schools and other educational institutions. “Table tennis academy is part of our long-term planning. To compete with the world, we have to train our young players systematically”. Answering a question, he said said that apart from table tennis, Sports Board Punjab will also establish academies for other sports including lawn tennis, badminton, boxing, powerlifting etc. “Our qualified coaches will groom young players with an aim to make them ready to represent Pakistan in international competitions in the next three to four years,” he added.