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Easy draw for Sharath, Amalraj, girls in tough group

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Doha, May 9: Achanta Sharath Kamal, with a world ranking of 83, tops group 7 as per the draw taken out late this evening, making things much easier for him in the World Olympic Qualification Championships, beginning here tomorrow.


The country’s top paddler, who is assured of making it to the second stage, has been clubbed with Andrew Baggaley of Egland (138), Slovakian Jan Zibrat (215) and Kirill Gerassimenko (561) from Kazakhstan.  


However, national champion A. Amalraj, whose world ranking is 165, has been placed in group 2 where he will have for company Emmanuel Lebesson from France, Taipei’s Wu Chi Chi and Vladislav Sorbalo from Moldova. Amalraj is at the third place in the group as the paddlers from France and Taipei have better world rankings.


As for the women’s draw, national champion Poulomi Ghatak and Kumaresan Shamini are placed in group 5 and 8, respectively. Both the Indians will have to contend with top-ranked players in their groups. Ghatak will run into No 2 player, Elena Timina (121) of the Netherlands and if she manages to beat her, the Indian will make further progress. Similarly, Shamini will have to overcome Joanna Parker of England, ranked at 129, to think of her next round.


Coach Bhawani Mukherjee said all his players felt happy about the draw and that he expects them to make it to the next stage. He, however, cautioned that both the women paddlers will have to play their best as only two top players move into the second stage in both categories.


“The draws are definitely easy and the players are confident of good performances. Both the men paddlers should have little difficulty in reaching stage two but the girls will have to really do well to move forward,” he said.


With nine Olympic slots in the men’s section and six in women’s category up for grabs, the Indian players are determined to use the opportunity to seal their London berths.

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