The 21st edition of Commonwealth Games has flagged off in style at the Gold Coast on Wednesday. More than 4,500 athletes from 71 nations will compete for 275 gold medals at the Commonwealth Games.
Indian Table Tennis team led by Achanta Sharath Kamal, is all set to stomp their mark Down Under at the 2018 Commonwealth Games. We take a look at the players participating in the tournament with a hope that they bring stupendous success during the prestigious games.
In the absence of global powerhouses like China, Japan, Korea and Germany; Indian paddlers stand a great chance to show their pedigree and bring back a rich haul of medals. However any sort of complacency wont do good to the team as England, Singapore have some top class players in their ranks to give the Indians a run for their money.
Here is a detailed insight into the Indian Table Tennis contingent
1. Achanta Sharath Kamal
The star of Table Tennis in India, Kamal has won six medals at the Commonwealth Games, with a Gold medal in the men’s single category being the highlight at Melbourne in 2006. Sharath is pretty confident of grabbing the medals this time around, and with the rumours of this Commonwealth Games being his last one, he will be pumped up to back his run this time with a rich medal haul.
2. Sathiyan Gnanasekaran
Gnanasekaran from Chennai is currently India’s highest-ranked paddler in the World and is set for his maiden appearance at the Gold Coast games. Part-time engineer Sathiyan has matched his counterparts with intelligent plays and the world will witness his sublime block shots this time around. He will be backing himself to win a medal or two to mark his rise at the world stage.
3. Harmeet Desai
The current world number 74, Desai is another debutant at the Commonwealth Games. He has previously won the Under-21 Open in Brazil in 2012. Described as one of the leading young-guns of the country, the 23-year-old will be looking to make an impression at the world stage.
4. Sanil Shetty
Sanil has been given a massive responsibility to represent India at the Commonwealth Games as a replacement for the seasoned campaigner Soumyajit Ghosh. This will be Sanil’s second CWG. He will come in this tournament with a good experience of playing at Gold Coast in the Australian Open last year and he will be ready to take full advantage of it.
5. Anthony Amalraj
Amalraj - the veteran of Table Tennis - Arjuna Awardee and many more. Anthony Amalraj has already won two medals at the Commonwealth Games, one being a silver and another the bronze. Having missed a Gold in Glasgow, he will be burning inside to get it correct this time around. The legend of Indian Table Tennis finished as India’s no.1 men’s player last season, and he will be ready to show why he did that by racking up some medals this time at the Gold Coast Games.
6. Manika Batra
Manika, the fierce competitor full of talent. The 22-year-old has already warned her competitors at the Commonwealth Games this year by stating “the colour of the medal doesn’t matter to me.” A born leader Manika, is all set to take CWG by storm with her aggressive yet mature skills. Her desire and decision-making attributes will take Gold Coast Games by storm with she being one of the best bets for medals this time around.
7. Madhurika Patkar
Patkar, a silver medal winner in 2010 Delhi Games is another paddler who has tasted the medal in the Commonwealth Games before. She is a flexible, adaptable player who can easily turn the game with both her defensive and offensive skills. She will be looking forward to be bring her experience and leadership skills to account this time at the Gold Coast games.
8. Mouma Das
Mouma has three Commonwealth medals in her ranks and is a Gold medallist at the World Team Table Tennis Championship held in 2016. The veteran from Kolkata has plenty of experience and will bring that into the fore once she steps in to represent India again at the Gold Coast Games.
9. Pooja Sahasrabudhe
The current no. 4 in India, Pooja has been the Under-17 and Under-21 National Champion. With her magical backhand she will be a force to reckon at the Gold Coast Games this time. India will be looking forward for a medal or two from Pooja and with her impeccable timing, the paddler can surely bring some medals without a doubt.
10. Suthirtha Mukherjee
The youngest to represent India at the Commonwealth Games this year, comes with full of mysteries and surprises. Last year, she defeated Manika Batra at National Championships. Marking her debut at the CWG, she will be looking to surprise opponents with her deft smashes and the unpredictability around her can end up as a couple of medals for the Indian Table Tennis contingent.
Men: Sharath Kamal, Sathiyan Gnanasekaran, Anthony Amalraj, Harmeet Desai, Sanil Shetty
Women: Manika Batra, Mouma Das, Madhurika Patkar, Pooja Sahasrabuddhe, Suthirta Mukherjee
Coaches: Massimo Costantini and Soumyadeep Roy
Support staff: Amarjit Singh (masseur) and Kishore Dey (physio)