Sutirtha, Abhishek eye 2014 Youth Olympics slots

Last Updated: Aug 14, 2013, 19:01 PM IST

New Delhi: Bolstered by their recent good form, promising young paddlers Sutirtha Mukherjee and Abhishek Yadav will be eyeing a berth in the Youth Olympics Games next year when they spearhead the Indian challenge in the Asian Youth Games in Nanjing, China starting August 16.

The Asian event would be a prelude for the second edition of the World event to be held at the same place in August, 2014.

The paddlers would look to finish inside top-eight in the singles event so as to get a direct entry into the Olympics.

"Our target would be to finish in the top-8 of our competition. It`s going to be tough. But I am confident of a good finish as have performed well in the recent tournaments," said Sutirtha.

Sutirtha, in June, led the young paddlers for India`s best-ever show in any table tennis tournament abroad at Slovak Junior TT Open where she bagged three gold medals, including the singles title. The Indian contingent finished with an overall tally of four gold and two silver medals.

"We are being regularly exposed to international level TT which is helping us know our weaknesses. I have been improving on my footwork. I hope I can bring more laurels for the country," said Sutirtha, who finished with a bronze in the ITTF World Tour Brazil Open last week.

Abhishek, too, has had good outings recently and is confident of a good show at Nanjing.

"Last month, I won silver in the singles and gold in doubles of the South Asian Junior TT Championships. These games will give us good practice ahead of the Asian Junior Championships in Qatar," Abhishek said.

The duo would be accompanied by coach Arup Basak while Jayesh Acharya will be manager of the team.

The table tennis event at the Games will be played from August 17-19.

PTI