Players look up to cool NZ event; Ghosh, Ankita too returns to fray



New Delhi, November 1: After all the heat and humid that kept participants on tenterhooks in three zonal events, the Vatika North Zone National Ranking  Table Tennis Championships, beginning at the Hansraj Model School here from tomorrow, promise all reasonable comforts that players normally aspire.

The weather in Delhi is nice and cool and hence it provides an excellent playing condition to the players; the two halls at the Hansraj Model School, adjacent to each other, may not provide a stadium-like atmosphere but in no way will hamper the players’ movement.

However, the parents accompanying the children will somehow find the going tough when it comes to moving inside one of the halls. That is a small price they will not mind paying and will continue cheering and appreciating
the children and their games.

No doubt, all the three zonal events—South Zone at Chennai, Central Zone at Jamnagar, and West Zone at Thane—were played under unfriendly conditions. Yet, they all provided exciting results from the knockout phases, throwing
up a lot of challenges to players in five categories—Cadet Boys, Cadet Girls, Sub-Junior Boys, Sub-Junior Girls, Youth Boys and Youth Girls, Men and Women—and new champions in some.

One can expect that happening even here. For, national champion Soumyajit Ghosh, who skipped all three tournaments, returns to fray and could aim at stopping Anthony Amalraj, who has been in real red-hot form. Ankita Das, too, will be playing her first national ranking event after having skipped the earlier three.

The regulars like Harmeet Desai, despite his indifferent form in the last two zonals, G. Sathiyan, Sanil Shetty, Jubin Kumar and Devesh Karia may scorn at Ghosh’s come back while challenging his supremacy. Similarly,
Mouma Das, Pooja Sahasrabudhe, Madhurika Patkar, Manika Batra and Divya Deshpande, all women’s title contenders, will look at Ankita’s return equally unpleasant.

Nevertheless, all these assure interesting fights in both the men’s and women’s singles. But it does not mean that other category singles will be less inspiring.

The truly potential Ravindra Kotiyan, Siddesh Pande in Youth and Junior Boys sections, Archana Kamath, Sreeja Akula and Priyanka Pareek in Junior Girls sections or, for that matter, Manav Thakkar, Anukram Jain, Jeho,
Lalrin Puia in Junior Boys or those up-and-coming paddlers in the Cadet Boys and Cadet Girls, they all promise a grand showing during the six-day event.

The first three-day schedule is going to be crowded with qualification rounds taking centre stage, thanks to entries for the North Zone crossing the 1,200-mark. The husband-wife duo of K. Shamini and Nitin Thiruvengadam,
however, does not figure as it has preferred to skip the meet here after rank bad showing in the last two outings. Maybe, they need a decent break away from the game to regroup themselves for the tournaments ahead.

According to Competition Manager Ganeshan Neelakanta Iyer, STAG equipment, including tables, flooring and plastic balls will be used during the championships. Anil Dubey has been nominated as the chief referee for the
event while A.S. Kler will be his deputy. They will be supported by 35 technical officials, including Blue Badge, international and national umpires.

The event is organized by the Haryana Table Tennis Association and Secretary M.P. Singh said he was too pleased to host the event at Delhi again. “Every year, we look forward to hosting one national ranking event in Haryana, but unfortunately we could not find a suitable venue this time. Hence we shifted it to Delhi. I am thankful to Vatika for agreeing to be the title sponsors for this event,” he said.

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