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India's only medalist in Chile Open Table Tennis struggling to come back to national arena

934   //    05 Mar 2013, 12:12 IST

It is the story of another Sourav. This Sourav is also from Bengal. But this person is not associated with cricket. Sourav Chakrabarty is a prominent name in Indian table tennis. Sourav Chakrabarty can be a rare example in the country’s table tennis fraternity. He was in Germany in September in 2011, with his club, Lampertheim. Despite excelling after playing Europe’s top players and even with some top Chinese players, Sourav, after returning to India after his six months’ stint, started producing such poor performances in the national level tournaments that it forced him out of the senior national team. The story seems completely against the  run of the trend as several sports personalities have been training abroad before their respective international tournaments to improve their game standard.

When asked, Sourav initially had no reasonable reply. Then, he lamented, explaining, “I used to train with former World number one, Timo Ball in Germany. I had regularly practiced with top European players in Germany. Even, I participated in the German league, and at the end of the League my ranking was number three. But after returning to Bengal I didn’t get opportunity to train against the players up to my standard. That was the first reason for my disaster.” But there is a another reality behind this explanation. Sourav’s father had suffered from an acute disease for most of the time in 2012. And being originally from Siliguri in North Bengal, Sourav stated, “I stay in Kolkata. So I couldn’t obtain time to train. Rather, my time was used up in travelling between Siliguri and Kolkata. And my table tennis began to sink gradually.”

Sourav has an exceptional laurel. He is probably the only Indian paddler to have achieved a bronze medal in World circuit Pro-tour championship, Chile Open in 2011. The extreme frustration and dejection seems to have been ended after the beginning of the present year. Sourav has started training seriously again. And, as an aftermath of his hard work since the beginning of 2013, Sourav is again back in the senior national camp going on in Patiala. Now, his aim is to go to to Karlsen Academy in Sweden. Soumyajit Roy, the current senior national champion, is also training at the same place. But Soumyajit’s Sweden trip and his total training programme has been financially helped by the International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF). Roy is getting a stipend of 200 US dollars every day from the ITTF. Sourav informed, “It would cost around Rs 4 lakhs for my 6 months training there. I have approached the state sports minister Mr Madan Mitra for some grant.”

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