Indian paddlers ready for Asian Cup challenge
Jaipur, March 12 (IANS): All eyes will be on Achanta Sharath Kamal and Soumyajit Ghosh to put themselves and India in medal reckoning at the 28th Asian Cup Table Tennis beginning at the Sawai Mansingh Stadium AIndoor Stadium here on Friday.
Only Chetan Baboor has something to show "having silver and bronze medals" as Indian paddlers have never been able to replicate his feat so far.
In the first stage group draw, Sharath faces stiff completion as he is drawn against world number three Chinese Fan Zhendong, Taipei's number eight Chuang Chih-Yuan and South Korean Joo Saehyuk, ranked 16 in the world.
Ghosh's opponents in group C are more trickier. The Indian national champion has to face the likes of world number five Japanese Jun Mizutani, Hong Kong's Peng Tang No. 13 and Singapore's Gao Ning, ranked No. 15 in the world.
"I had finished sixth the last time and I want to better my previous best. I am in good shape and absolutely fit to reach where I want to," Sharath said after the team's practice session on Thursday.
"I will play my attacking game and use the opportunity to hone my skills further," said a realistic Ghosh.
As far as the Indian women is concerned, Poulami Ghatak, who is drawn in group C along with Japanese Kasumi Ishikawa world No. 5, Seo Hyowon world No. 10 and Yu Mengyu world No. 12, faces an uphill task.
So is the case with Mouma Das, in group D, where she has to encounter Iranian Neda Shahsavari Neda, the only other paddler with no world ranking like Mouma, and Qatar's Aia Mohamed - world number 543 - and Thailand's Nanthana Komwong, world No. 101.
Group A: Xu Xin (Chn), Koki Niwa (Jpn), Kim Min Seok (Kor) and Jiang Tianyi (Hkg),
Group B: Fan Zhendong (Chn), Chuang Chih-Yuan (Tpe), Joo Sae Hyuk (Kor) and Sharath Kamal (Ind).
Group C: Jun Mizutani (Jpn), Tang Peng (Hkg), Gao Ning (Sin) and Soumyajit Ghosh (Ind).
Group D: Noshad Alamiyan (Iri), Yang Zi (Sin), G. Sathiyan (Ind) and Ali Omar (Yem).
Group A: Liu Shiwen (Chn), Ai Fukuhara (Jpn), Yang Haeun (Kor) and Doo Hoi Kem (Hkg).
Group B: Feng Tianwei (Sin), Zhu Yuling (Chn), Lee Ho Ching (Hkg) and Cheng I-Ching (Tpe).
Group C: Kasumi Ishikawa (Jpn), Seo Hyo Won (Kor), Yu Mengyu (Sin) and Poulomi Ghatak (Ind).
Group D: Nanthana Komwong (Tha), Aia Mohamed (Qat), Neda Shahsavari (Iri) and Mouma Das (Ind).