Ghosh, Ankita aim for good start

Ghosh, Ankita aim for good start

Ghosh, Ankita aim for good start

Teenag­ers Soumyajit Ghosh and Ankita Das will look to make the most of their Olympic debut starting with their opening matches in the London Games’ table tennis event here on Saturday. 

Ghosh and Ankita qualified for the Olympics ahead of their fancied compatriot and are eager to demonstrate their worth in the world’s premier sporting event. Both will directly play in the main draw after being given a bye in the preliminary round.

World No 206 Ghosh faces higher-ranked Brazilian Gustavo Tsuboi in the men’s singles first round to take place at ExCel, the table tennis venue of the Olympics.

“It is a dream to play in the Olympics. Even more so when you did not expect to qualify this time around. I have got nothing to lose and the aim will to beat some top players,” Ghosh said.

Another paddler, Ankita, is also on cloud nine after realising her Olympic dream four years in advance. She begins her campaign against Spain’s Sara Ramirez on Saturday. “Being here, staying alongside world’s top athletes, is an unbelievable feeling.

I was hoping to qualify for the 2016 Rio Olympics but now that I have managed to come here, I want to give my best shot and learn as much as I can from this lifetime opportunity,” said Ankita, who reached the quarterfinals of the World Junior Championships in Bahrain last year.   

She said her performance at the Worlds gave her confidence that she could compete at the highest level. “My Olympic qualification has got a lot to do with the way I played in Bahrain. I beat a top-10 player and that gave me a real boost,” recalled the World No 221.

Chinese paddlers ready

Shi Zhihao, head coach of China’s women’s table tennis team has said Chinese players should be ready for strong opponents in the first two matches in London.
“Our opponents in the first two matches may have already played a couple of games. The major question is whether our players can get tuned to the competition quickly,” Shi said.

Shi said players, who are most likely to challenge China’s dominance in the women’s singles events, are South Korea’s Kim Kyungah, Japan’s Ai Fukuhara and Kasumi Ishikawa.

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