Olympics Begin In
Begin typing your search above and press return to search.

Table Tennis

Taking one tournament at a time: Harmeet Desai targets Paris Olympics with improved ranking

Star Indian paddler Harmeet Desai is focusing on one tournament at a time, eyeing a place at the 2024 Paris Olympics.

Indian table tennis player Harmeet Desai (Source: DNA)
Indian table tennis player Harmeet Desai (Source: DNA)

Pritish Raj

Updated: 23 April 2023 4:19 AM GMT

New Delhi: Indian table tennis star Harmeet Desai was shouting instructions from the sidelines as his best-mate G. Sathiyan took on Achanta Sharath Kamal in the men's singles final of PSPB Inter-unit Men's singles finals.

His guidance clearly seemed to have worked as Sathiyan defeated Sharath 3-1 in the match to win the crown.

"I am not a coach (laughs). I was just helping Sathiyan with whatever I was witnessing in the game," Harmeet told The Bridge on the sidelines of the tournament.

Emerging as one of the top Indian players in the past few years, Harmeet capped off a brilliant 2022 with a gold medal in the Commonwealth Games team event and the title at National Games 2022.

"2022 was a great year for me. I capped off it with CWG gold and National games gold. I was runner-up at the nationals also, so it feels good. Everyday is new learning and I want to improve on my performance this year," Harmeet said.

Things have changed for Harmeet as he married fellow table tennis player Krittwika Sinha Roy in 2021.

“It is all positive changes. We spend time together. There is no long-distance now. Long distance still exists but I have a constant support system around me and it is very helpful," Harmeet said.

India hosted first-ever WTT Star event in Goa earlier this year where Harmeet lost to G. Sathiyan in the second round. Despite none of the Indians reaching podium, the event exposed Indian spectators and players to elite level of table tennis.

Talking about importance of such events, Harmeet said, “Such tournaments are important not only for players but also for fans and young players. Indian spectators will have exposure to the best of the players in the world and it will help the growth of the game.”

“This year saw a record participation of Indian players and they will be thrilled to practice and play against such players. It is an important experience," he added further.

Going forward in the year, Harmeet will be part of the World Championships and Asian Games. One of the most important events at world level is the team event in table tennis.

Talking about his bond with the team, Harmeet said, “It is fantastic and I really enjoy it. Sathiyan and I have always been together and we have been playing together since younger days. I grew up watching Sharath Anna play and now I have to face him multiple times. It is a great atmosphere among the team. We all converse a lot during our tours. The discussion is always around table tennis and specially when Manav is aroud.”

With an important year in the sight, Harmeet is taking it slow and wants to focus on one tournament at the moment.

“I am taking it step-by-step. My immediate focus is World Championships next month. I have to improve my world ranking which will help India’s chances in the Olympics. The major focus is on WTT tournaments and improving my world ranking," Harmeet concluded.

Harmeet Desai will be seen representing India at the WTT Star Contender Bangkok where he will take on Lubomir Jancarik of Czech Republic in the qualifying round of men's singles.

Next Story