Indian teams hope for some gains from Asian Championships

Manav THakkarNew Delhi: A ten-member team, comprising five men and five women, reached Yogyakarta today for the 2019 ITTF-ATTU Asian Table Tennis Championships beginning at the Indonesian city from September 15.

The team members, accompanied by coach Arup Basak, were at a 10-day preparatory camp at Chengdu (China). They will be joined by foreign expert, Brett W. Clarke, who left from New Delhi, on Friday.

The continental championships are the first event in which the winning teams in men and women competitions would seal their 2020 Olympic Games berths, which most likely to be the Chinese, the world beaters. But it will, nevertheless, provide the Indian paddlers with the chance to assess themselves in the company of other top contenders like Japan, Korea, Taipei and Singapore.

The Indian squad, led by the most experienced paddler A. Sharath Kamal (No. 41) and the top-ranked Indian in the world, G. Sathiyan at No. 30, will look to gain in experience and skills which it can use in the latter events to clinch a berth for its men’s team. Even otherwise, the Asian event gives the individual players, especially the likes of Harmeet Desai and Manav Thakkar, to assess their strengths and weakness while competing against the best in business during the eight-day event which concludes on September 22.

As for the women’s squad, it would have done its bit if the team manages to finish among the top-eight from the continent. Indeed, it is a big ask. But the team members can individually try to push themselves up to make most of the opportunities.

The championships open tomorrow with the team events in both sections.

The ATTU Congress, a biennial gathering of Asian countries, to be held during the championships will be represented by delegates M.P. Singh and Arun Kumar Banerjee, the Secretary General and Treasurer of TTFI, respectively. During the brainstorming sessions at the Biennial Annual General Meeting all the Asian delegates will debate and discuss various issues, including the ways and means to improve the sport in the continent.

The team:

Men: Manav Thakkar, Anthony Amalraj, G. Sathiyan, Harmeet Desai and A. Sharath Kamal.

Women: Sutirtha Mukherjee, Madhurika Patkar, Ayhika Mukherjee, Manika Batra and Archana Kamath.

Coaches: Arup Basak and Brett W. Clarke; Support staff: Amarjit Singh and Hirak Bagchi.

Delegates: M.P. Singh and Arun Kumar Bajernee.