ASIAN GAMES, 2018 : Indian Table Tennis Team flying with a zeal to win.
Asian Games Table Tennis event will ensue from August 26 to September 1 at the JIExpo Kemayoran Hall B3 in Jakarta.
Distinct from previous editions of the tournament, the Table Tennis event will consist of only five events including men's singles, men's team, women's singles, women's team and mixed doubles competition.
Since the men's and women's doubles Table Tennis events will not be part of the 2020 Tokyo Olympic, the Asian Games authority decided to exclude these two events from the 2018 Asian Games.
With all the top nations participating in the games, undoubtedly India is still high on hope.
Sathiyan Gnanasekaran, current WR 39 and the first Indian to win two pro-tours, famous for his medals winning performances at CWGs, 2018 strongly deems that this is the closest and the best chance India have got to break the Jinx.
“Indian Table Tennis is on a upsurge very steeply and with the CWGs and World Championship we have been doing great. Asian Games , we have superpowers not only of Asia but the world, Its’s like mini Olympics. So winning a medal in Asian Games is as good as winning a medal in Olympic games. So I mean it’s not going to be easy and that’s why India has never won also. But I feel this is the closest and the best chance we have got to break that jinx because we are doing well, beating Japanese, beating Koreans in the pro tours and if in pro tours, why not in the games? So I think we do have a great chance but I think to have a medal in the Men’s team event all three have to be on fire that day, top shape, top form and with the good draw and good form we can definitely win a medal.”
Manav Thakkar former WR 1 in Junior Boys, new addition in the team thinks winning a medal at Jakarta is very difficult.
“To win a Medal in Asian Games is very difficult as Table Tennis Giants China, Korea and Japan is around but our team is also in good form, so if we get good draw then there are chances that we win.”
From the women paddlers CWGs fame, Manika Batra believes that they are capble of beating any opponent.
“I feel we are now capable of beating any opponent.”
Whereas senior paddler Madhurika Patkar, currently ranked 125th in the world rankings believes that the Indian women’s team has good chances.
“We are the underdogs at the Asian Games and people have expectations from us because we played so well at the CWGs. We do have good chances. The team Comprises of Manika and Ayhika, they are playing good and then me and Mouma are experienced players. Sutirtha and Ayhika as are participating for the first time have the zeal to make the country proud and play for the team. So overall we have a good team and we have good chances to perform better.”
Ayhika, who is the new addition to the team consider that as a youngster she is fortunate enough to play the games with all the senior players. She believes that the camp at China is a very good preparation for the Indian Team. She is all ready to give her best and is very excited about the games.
The Indian Table Tennis contingent for ASIAN GAMES, 2018.
Men’s Team –
• Achanta Sharath Kamal, current WR 33, long time poster boy of Indian Table Tennis holds a huge fan following especially in India. Truly a promising player and an inspirational leader he is the captain of Indian Table Tennis Men's team carrying the pride of winning 8 Commonwealth games medals
• Sathiyan Gnanasekaran who refuses to stop and is growing better steadily currently on 39 spot in the world is on his career’s highest ranking. He is the first Indian to win two ITTF pro tours titles.
• Harmeet Desai, currently ranked 99 in the world is a vital part of the team as well. Harmeet played a key role in Team India’s gold medal winning performance, as he won the doubles match in the final against Nigeria at CWGs.
• Anthony Amalraj, who is ranked 156 in the world rankings is also a winner of a very prestigious award , Arjuna Award.
• Manav Thakkar, is the former WR1 in Junior Boys. He is the new addition in the team with a hope to send the best possible team for the Asian Games.
• Manika Batra, often regarded as the Golden girl because of her performance at CWGs is the highest ranked Indian Women in the world at spot 56.
• Mouma Das, an Arjuna awardee is admired for her Cwgs medals, currently on the 122nd spot in the world rankings and one of the most experienced players in the team.
• Madhurika Patkar, is also a senior paddle, 31, currently ranked 125th in the world rankings judges that a strong show at the Commonwealth Games has instilled fear amongst India’s opponents, which will help their cause in the Asian Games.
• Sutirta Mukherjee, Aged 21, the Indian table tennis is a right-handed player with a shakehand grip. She has won a Gold medal in the 2nd division of the World Team Championships and was also a part of the 2014 Youth Olympics.
• Ayhika Mukherjee, currently ranked 118 in the world rankings, a replacement to Pooja for Asian Games 2018 being National coach Massimo Costantini choice because of her unique game which can be troublesome for Asians Games.
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