New Delhi, July 31 (IANS) Soumyajit Ghosh, current national champion and favourite to win the men’s singles crown, is seeded second behind G. Sathiyan in the ongoing 45th All-India Institutional Table Tennis Championships at the Thyagraj Stadium here, it was announced on Friday.
Ghosh, who missed a few zonal events last year, could muster only 320 points, which includes the 180 points he collected at the Pondicherry Nationals. But Sathiyan, who had a roaring season last year, including three zonal titles and the runner-up finish at the nationals, garnered 480 points to earn the top seed position.
But both Sathiyan and Ghosh, along with six other seeds, have been given first-round byes and they will be seen in action from the second round, slated for later today.
Meanwhile, 48 qualifiers from as many groups have made it to the main draw, which includes former national champion Anthony Amalraj.
Interestingly, Amalraj had to play the qualifiers as he had skipped most of last season, owing his commitment with a club in Poland, and was ranked 37 — way behind several junior players. He had just 20 points in his kitty for his token appearance in the team event of last edition’s Inter-Institutional Championships held here.
Devesh Karia, who had a fine season in 2014 with two singles crown, is seeded after Ghosh at No.3 while Abhishek Yadav is seeded No. 4. They are followed in seeding by Lalrin Puia, Sanil Shetty, Subhajit Saha and Raj Mondal, in that order.
With 24 group leaders joining the top eight seeds, the main draw of the women’s singles will be of 32 players. But they will play their first round only on Saturday.
As for women’s singles seeding, national champion Mouma Das is No. 1 with Pooja Sahasrabudhe, who was a semi-finalist at Pondicherry, is seeded second.
Runner-up Poulami Ghatak, who had sent in her entry, withdrew later. She is said to be on family way. The other players seeded behind Pooja include Ankita Das, Manika Batra, Krittwika Sinha Roy, Reeth Rishya and Madhurika Patkar.
Meanwhile, Petroleum Sports Promotion Board’s two top pairs Sanil Shetty and Manika Batra as well as Jubin Kumar and Neha Aggarwal have reached the mixed doubles final.
In the first semi-final, Sanil and Manika defeated easily the FCI’s duo of Arjun Ghosh and Sagarika Mukherjee 11-5, 12-10, 13-11, while it was a struggle for the Jubin-Neha pair which had to overcome their sturdy opponents in Air India’s Chinmay Datar and Devika Bhide.
The Air India pair showed gumption and, despite trailing 0-2, made a fine comeback to level the score. However, in the decider both Chinmay and Devika were guilty of missing crucial points which did not help their cause as the PSPB duo won 11-9, 11-4, 8-11, 8-11, 11-8 to earn the final berth.