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10-member squad leaves for Asian Championships




New Delhi, September 25: A 10-member Indian squad, comprising five men and five women and led by Achanta Sharath Kamal, left for Thailand, to participate in the Asian Table Tennis Championships, to be held at Pattaya from September 26 to October 3.


The other men’s team members, besides Sharath, are national champion Soumyajit Ghosh, Harmeet Desai, Sanil Shetty and G. Sathiyan while Mouma Das, Ankita Das, Pooja Sahasrabudhe, K. Shamini and Manika Batra form the women’s team.


The team, accompanied by coaches Bhawani Mukherjee and Arup Basak, left today afternoon.


Prior to their departure, all team members were at a 21-day camp at Patiala, preparing for the most important continental championships as, for the first time, the International Table Tennis Federation has accorded to it a proper qualification-event status for the World Championships, to be held in Malaysia in February 2016.


On the eve of their departure, Sharath said it was very important for us to make most of the event. “This will be my first competitive event since I got injured during the World Championships in China early this year. I had been working out physically without indulging in hardcore practice. At the camp, I felt the flow was nice and coming good. I hope I return to my original form,” said the highest world raked Indian at No. 52. Sharath had held the career-best world ranking at No. 27 when he pulled out of the pre-quarterfinals at the Shuzu world meet due to side strain in April this year.


The coaches and the team members, too, felt happy to see the return of the most experienced player to the squad. “His presence will add an aura to the side and hopefully the Indians will perform well,” said the coaches.


The Indians had entered the quarterfinals of the teams events at Macau in the previous edition.


The Indian paddlers will compete both in the team and individual events.