CHENNAI: After the Youth Olympic Games high, the World Junior Table Tennis Championships starting on Sunday in Australia’s Bendigo is another chance for Indian colts to prove that they are worthy successors to their seniors.
The Indians would look to better their 2017 performance when they finished 12th. Their confidence should be high after qualifying for the Worlds through the Asian Championship in August.
Indians played only in singles last year as the boys’ and girls’ teams did not qualify. This time, they have entries in singles as well as team. Manav Thakkar, Manush Shah, SR Snehit and Jeet Chandra are in the boys’ team, which has been clubbed with Germany and Argentina in the group stage. The girls’ team has Selena Deepthi, Swastika Ghosh, Prapti Sen and Archana Kamath. Brazil and Korea are in their group. Team events start on Sunday.
“In both groups, India is top-ranked. This is a morale booster for the players. I am hopeful the teams will finish in the top eight. After the Commonwealth and Asian Games high, the juniors will take inspiration from the seniors to make this their best outing. The Youth Olympic Games performance is another confidence-booster,” said Soumyadeep Roy, India coach during the Youth Olympic Games.
“Right now the team structure is good. Manav and Archana are in form. Players like Manav need to be monitored throughout. Arup Basak and Sandeep Gupta (coaches) are experienced and they have been travelling for many years now. Sandeep was a driving force for the senior team at the Asian Games,” Roy added.
The players are also keen to take a leaf out of the seniors’ book. “We take inspiration from them. This year they have produced results which were never dreamt of. We have improved a lot. We use new techniques and there is a change in fitness levels,” said Selena, who won bronze at the recent Portugal Junior and Cadet Open.
Coach’s travel delayed
Junior team coach Sandeep’s departure was delayed by a day because of visa issues, according to a TTFI official. Instead of Friday, he left for Australia on Saturday.