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Payas sets bar high, No. 2 in U-17 world ranking




New Delhi, April 15: With the world of sport facing varying degrees of difficulties owing to the pandemic situation, Indian table tennis can take heart from one of its paddlers grabbing the international spotlight this week. 


According to the latest ITTF rankings, released on Tuesday, reigning singles Youth and Junior National champion Payas Jain is sitting pretty as the World No. 2 in the newly-introduced Under-17 Boys category. He is 268 ranking points behind the table-topper Yuanyu Chen from China, at 2612, and way ahead of the third-placed Puerto Rican, Angel Naranjo (2229).


For the Delhi boy, the progress must have come as a shot in the arm. The 17-year-old, who finished with a silver medal in the Asian Cadet and Junior at Ulaanbaatar (Mongolia) in September 2019, went down to the same Chinese in the final.  Before Payas, Manav Thakkar had become World No. 2 in the under-18 section in 2018.


The international federation has brought in this new ranking to plug the gap of four years between Cadets (under-15) and Youth (under-19) and help the in-between players a chance to monitor their gradual progress. The ITTF has, thus, increased the age to 19 for the junior paddlers.


In the Under-15 Girls, Suhana Saini is ranked No. 7 in the world, and that is quite some progress for the Haryana girl. The sub-junior paddler finished runner-up in February nationals, held at Indore.  Prayesh Raj Suresh is ranked No. 6 in the U-15 Boys and the Tamil Nadu boy had helped himself to the Sub-Junior Boys title at Indore.


In the under-19 Girls category, National Junior champion Swastika Ghosh of Maharashtra is the top-ranked Indian in the world at No. 9.  Few other Indians are also figuring in the ranking lists of various categories, but they have a long way to go. 


But in all these categories, the Japanese progress is mindboggling as they are ruling the ranking charts, especially their girls in Under-15, Under-17, and Under-19 sections. As for the Under-19 Boys, it is undoubtedly the Japanese who hold the sway!


Other Indians among top 100:


U-19: Boys: Payas Jain (33), Deepit Patil (70); U-19 Girls: Diya Chitale (44), Anusha Kutumbale (53).


U-17: Boys: Preyash Raj Suresh (34), Aadrsh Om Chhetri (61), Vishwa Deendayalan (66); U-17 Girls: Suhana Saini (33), Anargya Manjunath (86),


U-15 Girls: Nehal Vengadasamy (27).