Hassle-free opening marks East Zone TT

Hassle-free opening marks East Zone TT

Aizawl, November 14: Thirty two qualifiers in the men’s singles and 24 in the women’s section took their appointed place in their respective groups to enter the main draw of the 11Even Sports National Ranking (East Zone) Table Tennis Championships at the R Dengthuama Multipurpose Indoor Stadium at Mualpui here today.

With most players opting to stay out of season’s last national ranking event, it was a hassle-free day both for the players and the officials as the group leaders made the opening day affair rather easy with just three
rounds of matches to be played.

However, the real action begins only tomorrow when eight top ranked players from either section jump into the fray as they have been accorded direct entry into Stage 2. But even among them, the competition for the title seems to start and end with a few names—top-seed Sanil Shetty and Anthony Amalraj, and, maybe, Devesh Karia.

The rest—Manav Thakkar, who could be seeded, Subhajit Saha, Utkarsh Gupta, Ronit Bhanja and Sudhanshu Grover—can be expected to make it to the last eight stages at least, barring any second-round hiccups as they are sure to get first-round byes in the main draw.

However, the top eight women—Suthirtha Mukherjee, who will be top-seeded here, Madhurika Patkar, Mousumi Paul, Mouma Das, Ankita Das, Pooja Sahasrabuddhe, Krittwika Sinha Roy and Divya Deshpande—will not have the luxury of any extra rest as they will straightaway play the 32-player main draw first round tomorrow with rest of the qualifiers in place.

Only jarring note on the opening day was the performance of local players in both the men and women’s singles as most of them have done and dusted in the qualifying stage itself. This does show some disparity in quality. However, these boys are expected to do well in other categories.

Along with the Stage 2 rounds of men’s and women’s singles, the Youth Boys and Youth Girls qualification process will start tomorrow. The Youth Boys have been split into 24 groups and it will be a straight 32-player draw with eight top players joining the qualifiers, while the Youth Girls, divided into 16 groups, can expect some extra benefits in the form of first-round byes along with the top eight who have been given direct entry.

Earlier in the day, state Finance Minister Lalsawta declared the meet open and it was followed by a cultural programme, which included the traditional Mizo music and dance.

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