Reigning Commonwealth champions India to train in China

July 29th, 2010 - 4:39 pm ICT by IANS  

By Bharat Sharma
New Delhi, July 29 (IANS) Reigning men’s team champions India, with their singles gold medallist Sharath Kamal, will be in China for training-cum-competition next month in preparation for the Oct 3-4 Commonwealth Games here.

Table Tennis Federation of India (TTFI) secretary-general Dhanraj Choudhary said the Indian squad comprising nine men and eight women will first play in the China Open, starting Aug 12, and then spend a month there to train ahead of the Games.

“The players will participate in the China Open and after the tournament ends, they will stay there for training in Zhending until Sep 12. The trip is planned in such a way that our players peak at the right time and be prepared to defend their men’s team title, women to try and improve upon their bronze position and Kamal retain his singles title,” Choudhary told IANS.

The players feel that taking part in the China Open will not only give them the opportunity to play higher ranked players, but also give them a chance to improve their world rankings.

“Right now we are number two in the Commonwealth team rankings behind Singapore whom we beat in the final at Melbourne four years ago to win the gold medal. If we perform well in China, our rankings will improve and that will ensure a better draw and seedings at the New Delhi Games,” said world number 210 Subhajit Saha.

It was Saha who brought India back in contention in the final at Melbourne after both Soumyadeep Roy and Kamal lost the first two matches by winning the third. Thereafter Roy and Kamal pulled off the fourth and fifth rubbers for a 3-2 victory.

Similarly, in the women’s bronze medal match against Canada, it was third singles player Nandita Saha who put India 2-1 up after Poulomi Ghataka lost her match. Poulomi lost her second match also before Mouma Das clinched the deciding rubber.

The Indian players are confident of good showing in the Commonwealth Games as they would be in good nick after all the preparatory training and competition.

“There is no better place than China when it comes to training and competition. We are going there at the right time. Though China is not part of Commonwealth, we will get to play with players from Singapore and Malaysia who will come to Delhi. Training in China has always been a great learning experience,” summed up Kamal, India’s highest ranked player in the world at 76.

Kamal, who won back-to-back titles at Egypt and US, expects his ranking to be in the top 30 in the world before the Games.

(Bharat Sharma can be contacted at

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