Ghosh blows up Sharath hegemony, top Indian in the world – TTFI

New Delhi, May 5: Rio Olympics-bound Soumyajit Ghosh upstaged his icon and friend Achanta Sharath Kamal in world ranking on today.

As per the ITTF world ranking list released on Thursday, Ghosh has grabbed the No. 65 spot to be ahead of Sharath by eight places. Sharath, who had occupied the position at No. 61 in April, has been pushed down to No. 73. Incidentally, this is the first time ever that Ghosh has demolished the Sharath hegemony.

The remarkable upswing in Ghosh’s world ranking was possible because of his sterling performances at the Asian Cup in Dubai last week. Ghosh had beaten a higher ranked Korean player apart from accounting for a Taipei paddler, paving the way for the surge.

Ghosh had finished seventh in the Inter Continental Cup Group of the Asian Cup event at Dubai last week. After qualifying for the main draw, he defeated for the first time Taipei’s Chiang Hung-Chieh 4-3 (10-12, 11-9, 6-11, 11-6, 11-8, 9-11, 11-4) in a tough battle.

But even before that, Ghosh had another first to his credit when he felled Korean Youngsik Jung in the semifinals of the men’s singles challenge 3-2 (11-6, 7-11,  11-8, 10-12, 11-8) to enter the main draw. Ghosh had lost badly to the Korean twice before both at Australia Open Challenge and Korea Open, which is a super series. As for the group stage, Ghosh led all the way through, accounting for Iran’s Nima Alamian 3-2, Abdulla Albalooshi of UAE 3-0 and Singapore’s Clarence Chew Zhe Yu 3-1 to enter the main draw.

Sharath, who too participated in the Dubai event, lost all three of his qualifying matches and that has cost him dear. Unfortunately, Sharath has had a very bad season since the 2015 world championships and injury after injury has pushed him down.

National champion Manika Batra, too, gained six places, to be at No. 128 after putting up a fine display at the Asian Cup’s Continental group event. She led the pack of four players, defeating Noora Al-Abri of Qatar 3-0, Majd Alblooshi of UAE 3-1 and then finally scalping Thailand’s Suthasini Sawettabut 3-0 to enter the quarterfinals, which is the women’s singles challenge. In the quarters, she lost to Hong Kong’s Huajun Jiang 1-3 (5-11, 8-11, 11-9, 9-11).

Nevertheless, this ranking boost should help her before as she embarks on her maiden Olympics trip.

Mouma, another Rio-bound player, has lost eight places since her outing in the World Championships in Malaysia. She was No. 150 soon after but today she is occupying the No. 158 spot in world rankings.

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