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Upbeat paddlers leave for Sweden




New Delhi, April 25: After tasting an unprecedented success at the Gold Coast Commonweal Games, the Indian team, in two batches, left today for the World Championships to be held at Halmstad, Sweden between April 29 and May 6.


The Table Tennis Federation of India (TTFI) has retained the same team as the one competed in the CWG. The team, led by the most successful captain A. Sharath Kamal, will be training at Varberg from tomorrow until the competition begins at the Worlds on April 29.


Captain Sharath said that both teams will try to live up to their rankings. “Out men team is ranked 10th and women team, 14th. We also know the expectations have soared after our CWG success. But the worlds are a different ball game. Yet, we will give our best and I would be happy if we try out reach a top-12 spot,” he said. “Anything else, we will consider as a bonus,” he added.


Manika, who was a part of the first batch that left yesterday, was confident of performing well. “I am in good touch and our team spirit is really good after what we did at Gold Coast. But CWG is past and we have to live in the present. The world championships will give us a kind of experience that will help us all in the future,” said Manika.


Coach Massimo Costantini, too, was upbeat but cautioned saying that India will have to think about improving their positions. “Most importantly, they have to maintain their rankings. The top fields will be on view in Sweden and the players are aware of the job at hand,” said the coach.


Team members are:


Men: A. Sharath Kamal, G. Sathiyan, A. Amalraj, Harmeet Desai and Sanil Shetty.


Women: Manika Batra, Mouma Das, Madhurika Patkar, Pooja Sahasrabuddhe and Suthirta Mukherjee.


Coaches:  Massimo Costantini and Arup Basak.


Support staff: Kishore Dey (physio) and Amarjit Singh (masseur).


Manager:  T.G. Upadhya.