Indian paddlers off to positive start in World Oly Qualfiers

Doha: India made a positive start to their campaign at the final World Olympic Qualification table tennis championships with as many as three out of the nation`s four paddlers registering wins in their tournament openers on Thursday.

In the men`s section, both Anthony Amalraj and Achanta Sharath Kamal kept alive their London dreams, securing their places in the next round with consummate ease.

While national champion Amalraj defeated world number 49 Emmanuel Lebesson of France 4-1 (11-4 9-11 11-4 11-5 11-5) in his group 2 match, Sharath Kamal got the better of Slovakian Jan Zibrat 4-2 (6-11 11-6 11-6 5-11 11-4 11-6).

Amalraj will now run into Vladislav Sorbalo in his next match, while Sharath Kamal will be up against England`s Andrew Baggaley, who won 4-2 against Kirill Gerassimenko of Kazakhstan.

India, however, witnessed a mixed outing in the women`s section. While world number 225 Poulomi Ghatak stunned 85th ranked Oxana Fedeeva of Russia 4-2 (11-7 11-8 11-9 6-11 11-13 11-5), Kumaresan Shamini lost to world number 93rd Gabriala Feher from Serbia 3-4 (11-9 9-11 11-6 13-15 11-9 11-13 11-9).

The only hurdle for Poulomi now is Netherland`s Elena Timina, who is ranked 121 in the world.

National coach Bhawani Mukherjee expressed happiness over the performance of the players, but cautioned his wards against complacency.

"They can`t sit back and think about what happened in the morning. With just two group toppers going into second stage, they have to be consistent," he said.