New Delhi, Jul 1 (PTI) India's leading players Sharath Kamal and G Sathiyan will be extending financial help to more than 130 needy members of the table tennis fraternity amid the COVID-19 pandemic, after raising more than Rs 13 lakh for charity fund.

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The original goal of the paddlers were to raise Rs 10 lakh, with which they can extend help to 100 members but with the help of former player Neha Aggarwal, the duo had raised more than Rs 13 lakh, allowing them to help at least 130 fraternity members with a one-time grant of Rs 10000 each.

Promoters of the Ultimate Table Tennis (UTT) league, Vita Dani and Niraj Bajaj, have also made a contribution.

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Financial help will be provided to players, coaches and umpires who have been hit hard by the financial impact of the pandemic.

"We initially planned to help around 100 people but the response has been great and now we can help at least 30 more. We are accepting donations till Sunday and after that we will take a call on how many more we can help.

"I really want to thank the donors for their contribution," Sharath told PTI.

Sharath and Sathiyan had initially come together to help eight local coaches in Chennai. Neha then joined the duo to take the 'Our Chance to Serve' initiative to a bigger stage which has raised more than the targeted amount following UTT's support.

"UTT has been playing a constructive role in not only developing the sport of table tennis but also supporting its many stakeholders. At a time when lives and livelihoods are in distress, this initiative is indeed the need of the hour.

"We believe our contribution will be able to support the people in need and strengthen their resolve during these tough times," UTT co-promoters Dani and Bajaj said in a joint statement. PTI

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