Constantini hoping for good performance in Asian TT
New Delhi: India’s national table tennis coach Massimo Constantini expects his wards to do well in next month’s Asian Championship in Lucknow to boost their confidence ahead of next year’s Commonwealth Games here.
Constantini, currently accompanying the Indian paddlers at a 17-day special training programme in Zhengding province of China, considers the Asian tournament as one of the most important ones before the capital hosts Commonwealth Games from October 3-14.
“We will play in the (Asian) Championship with an intention of giving our best performance with the major target (2010 CWG) in our mind. I want to make it clear to my players that if you work hard and give your best, good results are the logical consequence,” Constantini told reporters from China.
“Asian Championships is going to be toughest competition for us. Playing at home is never easy, sometimes it is an advantage but sometimes not at all. There will be high expectation from us. But this is quite normal,” he added.
Constantini conceded the field would be difficult in the November 16-22 event and he expects the girls to do slightly better than the boys.
“If you see the world ranking among the top 30 players, there are 19 Asians while our best is at 71 (Achanta Sharath Kamal). Among the girls the situation is not much better, so we only need to play much better than ever,” Constantini said.
“For good performance we need talent, technique, fitness and mind power. All these need to be combined in the players to be successful at the top international competitions,” added the former Italian paddler.
World number two Ma Long of China and compatriot Guo Yue were among 175 paddlers from 24 countries, including Japan, Korea and Hong Kong, who have confirmed participation in the tournament so far.
Men’s competition will feature number five Wang Liqin of China, Japanese Mizutani Jun (12th) and Cheung Yuk (15th) of Hong Kong, while Chinese aces Li Xiaoxia (3rd), Liu Shiwen (4th) and Feng Tianwei (7th) would be the main attractions in women’s events.
India have already announced a 20-member probables’ list, which consists of Sharath, woman national champion Kumaresan Shamini and former national champions Subhajit Saha, Poulomi Ghatak and Mouma Das.