Monday, August 30, 2010

Sharath Kamal leads India's Table Tennis brigade in CWG

Sharath Kamal leading the challenge, India can expect a few medals in table tennis. The lanky Chennai player clinched the men's singles title in Melbourne four years ago, and he has what it takes to defend his title. The Olympian paddler became the first Indian to win an ITTF Pro Tour singles title when he clinched the Egypt Open in Cairo last month. Earlier in July, he had also won the US Open title in Michigan. After garnering some valuable points with these creditable performances, Sharath became the first Indian to break into the World top-50.

Yet it is not going to be a cakewalk for India as Singapore paddlers can throw a challenge at the hosts in both individual and team events. Expectations are high from India because they are the hosts and also the defending champions in the team event. Hence, Sharath and Co need to be on the top of their game and feed off the cheer of the home crowd. China will not be here but Chinese-origin players representing other countries can be difficult nuts to crack. For example, Singapore have a few players who are Chinese and may stretch the Indians in both team and individual events. Other teams like Nigeria and England can also spring a surprise.

But then, it's not a difficult task to outplay them. Sharath, for that matter, have the experience of playing against Chinese opponents in international tournaments. In fact, he had beaten a Chinese player in the final of the Cairo Open. Other Indians who play on pro-tour also are now aware of Chinese tactics. So, it may not be very difficult for Indian players to showcase their strength and confidence. Currently, the Indian team is going through the paces at a training camp in Zhengding, China, where their strengths and weaknesses are being identified.

The players' improvement is visible under the tutelage of Italian coach Massimo Constantine, particularly if Sharath's performances are taken into account. The hosts have earned more success with European coaches because the style is similar to the Europeans. With the government providing support and TTFI also leaving no stone unturned, the future of Indian table tennis looks bright.

CWG medals won by India

table tennis is an optional sport for men and women that was first held in Manchester 2002. Athletes representing 35 countries competed at Melbourne 2006. Table tennis will feature in both Delhi 2010 and Glasgow 2014.

Gold: 2006 Melbourne: Men's singles, men's team event

Bronze: 2002 Manchester: Men's singles, men's doubles, men's team event; 2006 Melbourne: Women's team event

Core Probables

Men: Achanta Sharath Kamal, Soumyadeep Roy, Subhajit Saha, Anthony Arputhraj Amal Raj, Sourav Chakraborty, Jubin Kumar, Soumyajit Ghosh, Sanil Shankar Shetty, Devesh Karia

Women: Madhurika Suhas Patkar, Divya Chandrashekhar Deshpande, Shamini Kumaresan, Poulomi Ghatak, Mouma Das, Neha Aggarwal, Soumi Mondal, Pooja Vijay Sahasrabudhe

Coaches: Massimo Costantini ( foreign coach), Bhawani Mukherji ( chief coach), Nandini Kulkarni, Manoj Chowhan, Vijaya Sarathi, Rita Jain, T Opendro Singh

No. of exposure trips: 10

World stars: Gao Ning (Singapore), Feng Tianwei (Singapore), Paul Drinkhall (England)


Post a Comment