Kolkata: Defending champion Poulami Ghatak who is recovering from a ligament surgery will be missed in action in the Keventer 72nd Senior National and Inter-State table tennis championship that returns to the city after a gap of 18 years.
Reigning men`s champion Achanta Sharath Kamal along with local stars Soumyadeep Roy and Subhajit Saha, who represent team title holders Petroleum Sports Promotion Board (PSPB), will be the star attraction in the premier tournament that will be held at the Netaji Indoor Stadium from January 17-23.
A total of 34 men`s teams and 29 women`s teams from the 32 affiliated state associations and 20 institutions will vie for top honours in the Rs eight lakh prize money tournament, West Bengal Table Tennis Association president Somnath Chatterjee told reporters here on Monday.
The men`s winner will be richer by Rs 1.5 lakh, while in the women section the champion will get a prize purse of Rs 1.25 lakh.
The team events will conclude on January 19 while the qualifying rounds for the individual section for a draw of 16 will be held on January 20.
The pre-quarters and quarterfinals will be held on January 21 and 22 while semifinals and finals have been slotted on the concluding day.
Poulami, who bagged a team silver and doubles bronze at the Commonwealth Games, injured her knee during the Asian Games in Guangzhou and was ruled out for about four-five months.
Giving an update on Poulami`s injury, her friend Soumyadeep said, "She has a ligament injury and recently she underwent an operation. It will take sometime, perhaps four to five months to heal."
For the likes of Soumyadeep and Subhajit, this will be the first time they will play the national in the city as the tournament returns after a long gap of 18 years.
"For the first time we will play the senior national here. We are really excited and I`m sure there will be a lot of spectators behind us. This will also give an added pressure.
"But personally I`m confident after the good show in the Commonwealth Games. I`ve three wins after CWG -- winning the South, East and Central zonal tournaments. I`m really looking forward to the championship," Soumyadeep said.
The West Bengal Table Tennis Association, which will host the show, also announced their men`s and women`s squads.
Anirban Nandi will lead the men`s side while veteran Anindita Chakraborty, who will participate in her 22nd national, has been named captain of the women`s side.
Men: Anirban Nandi (c), Sourav Saha, Saumik Roy, Samir Kar and Sougata Sarkar
Women: Anindita Chakraborty (c), Pallabi Kundu, Joyita Rushilal, Krittika Sinha Roy, Minu Basak.