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TTFI offers flexibility to paddlers for preparations ahead of the Tokyo Olympics

G Sathiyan (left) and Sharath Kamal have made it to the Tokyo Olympics
G Sathiyan (left) and Sharath Kamal have made it to the Tokyo Olympics
Kaushiik Paul
Modified 25 Mar 2021

The Table Tennis Federation of India (TTFI) has left it to the paddlers to decide where they would want to train and play as preparation for the Tokyo Olympics.

Achanta Sharath Kamal, G Sathiyan, Manika Batra and Sutirtha Mukherjee qualified for the Tokyo Olympics in their respective singles categories at the Asian qualifiers last week.

Kamal and Batra also made the Tokyo Olympics cut in mixed doubles, beating the fifth-ranked Korean pair of Lee Sang-su and Jeon Ji-hee in the summit clash. The duo also make up the country’s first mixed doubles pair at the quadrennial event.

The Indian paddlers returned to international action after a year earlier this month and played four back-to-back tournaments – WTT Contender series, World and Asian qualifiers. TTFI General Secretary Arun Kumar Banerjee wants the players to decide about their upcoming competitions.

“It is up to them to decide where they want to play and train. We will talk with them regarding the matter and wherever they want to play, we will try our best to facilitate them for the Tokyo Olympics. They have just come after playing four tournaments in Doha,” Banerjee told Sportskeeda.

Spotlight on Sharath Kamal-Manika Batra mixed doubles pair for the Tokyo Olympics

Banerjee is also putting emphasis on the mixed doubles pair of Sharath Kamal and Manika Batra. He wants the Indian duo to play together for a longer period and in the best possible shape for the Tokyo Olympics.

“Personally, I also want Sharath and Manika to play together. Sharath lives in Chennai and Manika is from Pune. I will speak to them regarding this matter and want them to play together so that they go to the Tokyo Olympics in top shape,” Banerjee added.
“There is always a risk factor considering the ongoing COVID-19 crisis in the whole world. Having said that we have left it to the players to decide where they want to play or train. It can be in Europe or in Asia or in any other place.”

Sutirtha Mukherjee garners TTFI applause

Banerjee also heaped high praise on young Sutirtha Mukherjee, who broke into the top 100 last year, and said TTFI will make efforts to include her in the TOPs scheme. The World No.95 is currently in the TOPs developmental program.

“I have been watching Surtirtha for a long time now. She is hard working, very sincere and the best part is that she has no side activities. Her concentration is only on table tennis. We are also trying to include Sutirtha in the TOPs scheme and hopefully that will happen soon,” he concluded.
Published 25 Mar 2021, 22:35 IST
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