New Delhi: He is considered a favourite to win the Table Tennis nationals this year, but rising paddler Soumyajit Ghosh prefers to be called an underdog going into the competition.
The 19-year-old does not want to take any pressure ahead of the event, starting January 7, as he is expecting tough competition from the likes of Achanta Sharath Kamal, Harmeet Desai and defending champion Anthony Amalraj.
"I am preparing hard to do well. I would like to go into the tournament as an underdog so that I do not take much pressure. There will be tough competition this time around.
I am certainly not a favourite for the title," Soumyajit, who is currently ranked number one in the country.
Soumyajit, who plays for Petroleum Sports Promotion Board (PSPB), lost to Achanta Sharath Kamal in the semi-finals last year.
The Siliguri-lad has come back from an intense three month long training at Peter Karlsson Academy in Sweden where he shed a few kilos to add agility to his game.
"I have lost 3-4 kilos during the past few months. I have become quicker on my feet.
This will certainly help me when I face the best players in the country," Soumyajit said.
The youngster will be a confident man entering into the competition as he has beaten higher-ranked compatriots Sharath and defending champion Amalraj in other competitions last year.
His recent performances include a silver medal in the singles competition at the Fajr Cup in Iran last month.
Soumyajit aims to better his world rankings, which currently stand at 186, in the coming season.
"My goals for this year would include reaching the 120-130 mark in the international rankings. For that, I will look to participate in as many tournaments as I can.
Also, I would like to win medals for my country in the Commonwealth championships in May," he said.
He (Major Dhyan Chand) is inspiration personified. He became synonymous with hockey. He became the parameter of hockey by which other player's calibre is measured.
Sports Minister Sarbananda Sonowal