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India could have four singles paddlers at Tokyo Olympics 2021: Mudit Dani 

  • Mudit Dani is confident of quite a few big names qualifying for the Tokyo Olympics 2021.
  • Making giant strides in the table tennis world, Mudit Dani is harbouring hopes of playing for India at the Olympics.
FEATURED COLUMNIST
Feature
Modified 11 May 2020, 17:37 IST

Mudit Dani in action
Mudit Dani in action

In mid-April this year, the International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF) released the latest senior men's rankings, and the list saw a few Indian paddlers gaining positions on the charts.

While veteran paddler Sharath Kamal became the highest-ranked paddler and took the 31st position in the rankings, there was yet another notable entry into the top-200 list.

21-year-old Mudit Dani, who only recently won a bronze medal in the doubles category 2019 US Open was the latest Indian paddler to break into the top 200 of the men's rankings.

Ranked 774th when he made his senior debut in August 2018, Mudit Dani has made some serious strides in the world of table tennis. And, backed by a string of positive results, Mudit Dani is not stopping at anything to achieve his dream of representing India at big-ticket events.


I was excited to win a senior medal at the US Open. Winning a medial and breaking into the top 200 were two big targets for me. My aim is to play for India at the Olympics, Asian Games, and Commonwealth Games," Mudit Dani said in an exclusive chat with Sportskeeda.
Mudit Dani (R) with coach Kamlesh Mehta
Mudit Dani (R) with coach Kamlesh Mehta

Currently, Mudit Dani is enjoying the quality time with his family but claims that he's never missed the table tennis more. With ample time to work on his fitness, Mudit Dani is focussing on power training, strength training and improving his reflexes with assistance from his coaches Kamlesh Mehta and Yogesh.

As for one of the most gutsiest decisions he's taken in his life so far, the youngster recalls planning the shift to Germany in order to sharpen his skill as one of the best calls of his life.


"I feel that was the best decision of my career. That's when I decided, I was giving it my all. I wanted to balance all and give it my 100% energy, and best thing to do at that point was move to an European country and play for a club. That was the start of a great time in my career and results are starting to show, the last two years have been great for me,"Mudit Dani said.
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While moving to Germany had a massive influence on shaping his career, Mudit Dani claimed that the decision to move was taken as early as in April 2018, and winning a number of accolades for the New York University fueled his confidence all the more.

Mudit Dani entered the Top-200 for the first time in his career
Mudit Dani entered the Top-200 for the first time in his career

Mudit Dani feels India will have four singles players at the Tokyo Olympics 2021

And, while India's hopes of qualifying for the Tokyo Olympics through the men's and women's team took a hit with losses in the pre-quarterfinals, Mudit Dani feels the Indian contingent is playing its best table tennis at the moment.

Mudit Dani feels that Indian table tennis is certainly on the rise, and the youngster is also very confident of seeing Sharath Kamal and Sathiyan Gnanasekaran booking their spot at the Tokyo Olympics 2021.


"Sharath and Sathiyan will 99% qualify for the Olympics if they are injury free. Manika Di has all but qualified, and I feel two paddlers each from the men's and women's division will qualify. As much as it (team not qualifying) was a setback, Indian table tennis is on the rise," the young paddler said.

Having drawn inspiration from many people, in particular veteran paddler Sharath Kamal, Mudit Dani is harbouring dreams of playing in the Ultimate Table Tennis League some time in the near future.

And, while the 21-year-old is slowly making big strides on the senior circuit, he's is chuffed at the efforts being undertaken by the Table Tennis Federation of India and the Ultimate Table Tennis League to promote youngg paddlers in the country.


"The Federation and Ultimate Table Tennis League are doing well to promote youth players. They have a new foreign youth coach Brett Clarke, who is doing a great job. The exposure is great, they are promoting foreign coaches and sending players to play abroad and apart from that, giving them chances in India. The overall development of youth table tennis is at a great stage," the youngster concluded.

Published 11 May 2020, 17:37 IST
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