NEW DELHI: Soumyajit Ghosh, sporting an unkempt beard, could not contain his happiness after securing the TT National Ranking (Central Zone) Table Tennis Championships title on Monday. It was his first in three years and his second overall.“I cannot begin to tell you how much this win means to me. I have been working hard and I hope I can continue in the same vein and ensure I come back to the Indian team soon,” the 26-year-old told this daily. The win also propelled him to No 4 in the domestic rankings.
Soumyajit has had a bumpy ride in the last couple of years. In March 2018, Ghosh was suspended by Table Tennis Federation of India and ended up missing out on India’s historic showings at the Commonwealth and Asian Games. He then had to face charges of domestic violence. Apart from making him more determined, the paddler has also become quite superstitious.
“I was never into superstitions. I used to watch seniors with their specific routines with regards to wearing certain colour clothing or sitting in a specific seat. But these intervening months have made me superstitious as well. Since I’m playing well now for the last two months, I have not yet shaved. I plan to keep it as long as the run lasts.”
His recent run includes reaching the semifinals of the Nigeria Open, an ITTF Challenge Plus event, in August as well as the semifinals of the West Zone national ranking tournament in Mumbai followed by the title-winning run in Bhavnagar.The former youngest national champion has lost a lot of weight, managed to overcome a persistent hip problem and is bullish about the future. Training with Soumyadeep Roy at his academy in Kolkata has led to a positive change in his life.
“For the first time in a while, I’m feeling pleased with myself. Now my full focus is on keeping this run going. I cannot begin to thank Soumyadeep Da. He has always motivated me and I also want to thank trainer Chinmoy Roy and physiotherapist Hirak Bagchi.”
Still needing court’s permission before venturing into international waters, the former Olympian needs to choose his tournaments wisely. He plans to play in the Inter-institutional Championships next before trying his luck in the Canadian Open.“I know I’m playing catch-up with the rest of the members of the national team. But I’m not jealous. I know I have to work double hard. I’m hopeful that I can reach the top again.”