New Delhi, April 11: An eight-member team has left for Hong Kong to participate in the Asian Olympic Qualification event to be held between April 13 and 17, 2016.
The team is led by ace Indian paddler Achanta Sharath Kamal, who is currently placed at No. 61. The other men’s team members are Soumyajit Ghosh, Anthony Amalraj and Harmeet Desai. The women’s squad consists of Manika Batra, Mouma Das, K. Shamini and Pooja Sahasrabuddhe.
Bhawani Mukherjee and Arup Basak will the two coaches accompanying the team for the five-day event.
The Indian team members, after the world championships appearance in Kuala Lumpur in February-March, had been participating in different leagues abroad and training specifically at their base. According to Coach Bhawani Mukherjee, all players are in match-fit condition and in better frame of mind.
As per Olympic qualification norms, only two men and two women per country can make the cut. All the eight players will be first competing in the South Asian region qualification, which is Stage 1 of the event. The South Asian region countries comprise Sri Lanka, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Nepal, Maldives and India. Since our supremacy is too well known in the region, India are assured of two Olympic berths (one man and one woman) from this event.
But for the other two berths (one man and one woman) the next opportunity for the rest the squad members comes from Stage 2 which is the Asian Qualifiers.
With 22 players getting direct entry based on individual’s singles Olympics rankings, Sharath Kamal stands a very good chance. However, with the ITTF making it mandatory from this year for all players to take part in qualification events, Sharath cannot take any chances and wait for the ITTF’s announcement which will come after the world rankings in May.
Press Release – TTFI
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