With focus firmly on qualifying for next year’s Tokyo Olympics, the Indian table tennis players on Wednesday resumed their training after almost seven months at the national camp, which got underway at Sonepat with nine paddlers. A total of 11 players and three coaches have given their consent for the 42-day-long camp which will conclude on December 9.
Four-time Commonwealth Games gold-medallist Achanta Sharath Kamal and Anusha Kutumbale will be joining the camp on Thursday. Senior players G Sathiyan and Harmeet Desai, who had left early this month for Europe to train and participate in the leagues there, are expected to join once they return. It is the first national camp for the sport since the imposition of the nationwide lockdown in March to contain the COVID-19 outbreak.
“It’s a good beginning and I am sure everybody at the camp will love to get on with good training and practice with the partners,” world no. 31 Sharath Kamal was quoted as saying in a release. “For us, this would be the best way to go about it and prepare for the Olympic qualifiers with complete focus. Whatever little we did during the lockdown at home was not adequate and lacked the intensity and concentration. Now it is a serious business. The camp will allow us to assess our fitness and strike a rhythm which you don’t get when you practice alone,” he added.
At the camp venue, all precautions have been factored in as per the Standard Operating Procedure laid down by the Sports ministry and Sports Authority of India. “We have been making sustained efforts and were constantly in touch with SAI and the players. Now that it is happening, the camp will help them come into good shape, kind of match-ready fitness, before the Games qualifications next year,” TTFI secretary general M P Singh said.
Men: A. Sharath Kamal, Manav Thakkar, Manush Shah, Sudhanshu Grover and Jubin Kumar.
Women: Sutirtha Mukherjee, Archana Kamath, Anusha Kutumbale, Takeme Sarkar, Kaushani Nath and Diya Chitale. Coaches: Arup Basak, Sunil Babras and Sachin Shetty.