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Five players to watch out for at the Seamaster ITTF World Tour India Open

RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL - AUGUST 17:  Dimitrij Ovtcharov of Germany in action  during the Men's Team Bronze Medal match between Korea and Germany at the Rio Centro Pavilion on August 17, 2016 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.  (Photo by Phil Walter/Getty Images)
The German is the top seed going into the tournament
Shraishth Jain

New Delhi is all set to host the inaugural edition of Seamaster 2017 ITTF World Tour India Open and all eyes will be glued to the top players, who are geared up to set the arena on fire with their swift skills, speed and tenacity. The tournament, which commences on February 14 and will be played at the Thyagaraj Stadium, will see the best of the players in action from India and across the world.

It is going to be country’s first ever World Tour event. 11Even Sports Private Limited (ESPL), under the auspices of Table Tennis Federation of India (TTFI) have entered into a 10-year agreement with the Federation to develop the sport from the grassroots to the professional level. ESPL had played a key role in bringing this prestigious tournament to India.

It will be the most lucrative TT tournament in the country ever. The India Open is part of the elite Seamaster 2017 ITTF World Tour, with only 11 other countries hosting this event. Apart from Hungary that has already hosted the first leg in January, Qatar (Feb. 23-26), Japan (Jun. 16-18), Korea (Apr. 20-23); China (Jun. 22-25); Australia (Jun 29-Jul. 2); Czech Republic (Aug. 24-27); Austria (Sep. 1-3); Bulgaria (Sep. 7-10); Germany (Nov 10-12) and Sweden (Nov. 16-19 Nov) will see action at its highest level.

With the top players already confirmed their appearance at the US $120,000 tournament, let us take a look at five players to watch out for:


#1 Dimitrij Ovtcharov (Germany)

Dimitrij Ovtcharov is the top seeded player in the Seamaster 2017 ITTF World Tour India Tour. He comes into the tournament on the back of a very good season, which included a bronze medal in the team event at the Rio Olympics. The 28-year-old seasoned campaigner has recently moved into the top five rankings and will start the tournament as the firm favourite.

He has already seen success in India back in 2010 when he won the ITTF Pro Tour event. Ovtcharov has won multiple championships across the world. He is also an individual bronze medalist at the 2012 London Olympics apart from winning two team bronze medals in London Olympics as well as 2008 Beijing Olympics.

#2 Vladimir Samsonov (Belarus)

RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL - AUGUST 11: Vladimir Samsonov of Belarus serves during the Mens Table Tennis Bronze Medal match between Jun Mizutani and Vladimir Samsonov of Belarus at Rio Centro on August 11, 2016 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.  (Photo by Lars Baron/Getty Images)
The Belarusian is the most experienced face on the tour

Ranked world no.8, Vladimir Samsonov is easily the most experienced and accomplished player on the roster. He went all the way to the quarterfinals in the recently concluded Hungarian Open, underlining the fact that he is a force to reckon with even at 40 years.

Amazingly, he is only the second paddler in the history of the game to stay in the Top 10 for 15 long years. He has also won a whopping 26 ITTF Pro Tour titles, the most by any player.

#3 Harimoto Tomokazu (Japan)

Harimoto Tomokazu
The 14-year old is breaking records already (Image Courtesy: butterflyonline.com)

The 14-year-old Japanese paddler is a child prodigy in its truest term. He is one of the fastest growing players in the ITTF circuit and at this tender age has already made it to the top-100. He is currently ranked 64 in the world and has the potential to the best in the business.

He became the youngest world champion last year and will be eager to maintain his solid run of form in the senior circuit as well. Table Tennis fans in India will surely witness some serious fast-paced TT on display when he takes the table.

#4 Sharath Kamal (India)

DUBAI, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES - APRIL 28:  Sharath Kamal Achanta of India in action against Wong Chun Ting of Hong Kong during day one of the Nakheel Table Tennis Asian Cup 2016 at Dubai World Trade Centre on April 28, 2016 in Dubai, United Arab Emirates.  (Photo by Warren Little/Getty Images)
Kamal is a two-time Commonwealth Games gold medalist

Ranked at 59, Achanta Sharath Kamal is one of the two Indian players to be in the top 100 of the world rankings. He is also the first Indian to win the singles title of an ITTF Pro Tour in Egypt in 2010. He captained the national team in the same event which beat the favourites and nine-time champions England. Sharath also won the US Open Table Tennis Championship in Michigan in 2010.

He is a regular in Germany in the Bundesliga where he has shined above all other players with consistent performances. He has represented the country in the Commonwealth Games numerous times where he won gold in 2006 and 2010, in addition to his seven national titles.

#5 Soumyajit Ghosh (India)

DUBAI, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES - APRIL 29:  Soumyajit Ghosh of India in action during the Men's Singles Challenge against Jung Yougsik of Korea during day two of the Nakheel Table Tennis Asian Cup 2016 at Dubai World Trade Centre on April 29, 2016 in Dubai, United Arab Emirates.  (Photo by Warren Little/Getty Images)
The man from Siliguri is one of India’s rising stars

Soumyajit is the prodigy India had been looking for a long time and over the last few years, he has constantly broken records. He became the youngest Indian player to have qualified for the Olympics at London in 2012.

He also became the youngest national champion at the age of 19 when he beat Sharath Kamal. He had turned heads for the first time when he led Indian side to the title in the Brazil Open in the U-21 category.

Edited by Staff Editor

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