Indian paddlers eye gold rush

Hosts start firm favourites

The South Asian Junior table tennis championship will be held at Talkatora stadium from Wednesday as hosts India battle it out against four other nations for the 10 gold medals on offer.

India have had a terrific track record in the past championships and will be trying to maintain their stranglehold in the three-day event across various categories - team championship titles, singles and the two doubles events.

Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Nepal and Maldives have confirmed their presence but owing to visa issues Bangladesh's participation is doubtful.

"Bangladesh had failed to complete the online visa application formalities with the Indian High Commission at Dhaka,” said TTFI secretary-general Dhanraj Choudhary.
“Since the event (team championships) is getting underway from tomorrow, it is highly doubtful that the team will come,” added Choudhary.

The meet assumes importance as the winners and the runners-up will qualify for the Asian Junior Championships to be held at Kuala Lumpur in July.  India’s Junior boys section will be spearheaded by Utkarsh Gupta and Lalrinpuia in the company of promising Sanish Ambekar and Ravindra Kotiyan who showed potential in zonal Junior and Cadet Nationals at Alleppey last season.

The girls’ team comprises Shruti Amrute, Sreeja Akula, Maria Rony and Selena Deepti Selvakumar. In fact, except Maria, the other three were selected to represent the country at the World Junior Championships last year.

For the hosts, Manav Thakkar and Archana Kamath in the boys and girls sections respectively will be the paddlers to watch out for.

With just five teams in fray, the team championships will be conducted on a round-robin league format on the second day when the individual matches too begin.

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