New Delhi, June 16 (IANS) The domination of India’s junior paddlers will be yet again showcased when they take on the four other teams from the region competing in the South Asian Junior Table Tennis Championships, beginning at the Talkatora Indoor Stadium here from Wednesday.
Over the years, the Indian team members, in both the Junior and Cadet sections, have been going through the rituals of grabbing all the 10 gold medals on offer — team championship titles, singles and the two doubles events in the Junior sections — without much ado.
And there will be no difference this time as the hosts, with strong teams, are bound to do leaving the crumbs for other competitors.
The winners the runners-up of the event will also qualify for the Asian Junior Championships to be held at Kuala Lumpur in July and that will be an added source of motivation for the competititors.
Besides hosts India, the other teams that are participating in the three-day championships are Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Nepal and the Maldives.
Owing to a visa problem, Bangladesh, however, could not make it despite having sent their entries.
“They had failed to complete the online visa application formalities with the Indian High Commission at Dhaka,” TTFI secretary general Dhanraj Choundary said in a release.
“Since the event (team championships) is getting underway from tomorrow, it is highly doubtful that the team will come,” added Choudhary.
India’s junior boys section will be spearheaded by the experienced Utkarsh Gupta and Lalrinpuia in the company of promising Sanish Ambekar and Ravindra Kotiyan, who made all the right noises in zonal as well as the Junior and Cadet Nationals at Alleppey last season.
Equally competent are the girls’ team, comprising Shruti Amrute, Sreeja Akula, Maria Rony and Selena Deepti Selvakumar. In fact, except for Maria, the other three were selected to represent the country at the World Junior Championships last year.
As for the Cadet sections, Manav Thakkar who almost swept through the titles both in the Junior and Cadet categories last season, will be the player to watch out for along with his teammates.
Similarly, Archana Kamath, who has had a fantastic season last year — she represented the Asian team at the Cadet Challenger at Barbados-besides retaining the Sub-Junior Girls title — is in red hot form and would be leading the Cadet Girls challenge for the hosts.
With just five teams in fray, the team championships will be conducted on a round-robin league format on the second day when the individual matches too begin.