Junior global TT meet vital for paddlers, says national coach

New Delhi: The Indian Open Global Junior Table Tennis Championship, starting September 28 in Dehra Dun, is important for the Indian paddlers as it will help them in improving their rankings, feels national coach Bhawani Mukherjee.

Mukherjee, who visited the paddlers, currently preparing at NIS Patiala, said, "All the boys and girls are anxious but raring to go."

"It is paramount for our juniors to perform here to gain points as well as improve their own rankings and that of the team," he said during his visit for a crucial equipment committee meeting here on Tuesday to tie up certain things with the Table Tennis Federation of India (TTFI).

After the Indian boys` performance in the Asian Juniors here a couple of months ago, expectations have gone up with players like Harmeet Desai, Soumyajit Ghosh, G Sathyan and Sourav Saha standing out with their excellent showing against the Chinese and Japanese players.

The girls may not have measured up to the boys, but they too did reasonably well with Manika Batra being the standout performer. Her improved world ranking in the women`s section (the first Indian girl to go under 190) has given a tremendous boost to the rest of the team, feels the coach.

"Our boys are currently world No. 5 and are a few points behind South Korea, who are at No. 4. If our boys manage to go over them and clinch the No. 4 status, it will make a huge difference in their seeding at the world champions in Bahrain," said TTFI secretary-general Dhanraj Choudhary.

According to both Choudhary and Mukherjee, if Indian boys manage to get the No. 4 position, they would surely avoid both China and Japan, the No. 1 and 2, during the draw.

The championship will see nearly 100 paddlers from 10 countries vying for top prizes. India, as the hosts, can pit six players each team, while the other participating nations are allowed only three players per team. PTI

Bureau Report

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