New Delh: Young Sanil Shetty is the lone new face in the 10-member table tennis squad for the Asian Games that was announced by the Table Tennis Federation of India (TTFI) here on Thursday.
Shetty will replace defensive player Abhishek Ravichandran in the men`s side.
World No. 40 Sharath Kamal will lead the men`s challenge while Mouma Das will shoulder the hopes in women`s event in a competition that will be a lot tougher than the recently concluded Commonwealth Games.
India won five medals, including a gold in men`s doubles, during the Oct 3-14 Games, but a getting a single medal in the Asian Games will be tough task as powerhouses China and South Korea are favourites to bag the maximum medals.
`The Asian players are very good against defensive players so we dropped Abhishek and decided to give a chance to a youngster like Shetty. The competition will be a lot tougher there and even a single medal will be hard to come by,` TTFI secretray-general Dhanraj Choudhary told reporters.
Chief coach Massimo Constantini, whose contract with TTFI will expire after the Asian Games, said the team has improved immmensely in the last two years.
`Competing against the players in the world will not be easy. The team is improving constantly. The performance in Delhi was highly satisifying. Now lets see how the players fare in China,` said Constantini.
The paddlers will undergo a 10-day training camp in Patiala from Nov 1 ahead of the Guangzhou Games.
1) Bhawani Mukherjee
2) Massimo Constantini