India's junior boys brought their best to the court, but unfortunately could not match the speed and agility of their Chinese counterparts, as they bowed out 0-3 in the semifinals of the 17th Asian Junior Table Tennis Championship at the Thyagraj Stadium on Friday.
Having already bagged a World Junior Championships berth, to be held at Bahrain in December, India were happy to claim bronze. "Being the host nation, it wouldn't have felt nice had we returned empty handed," said coach Bhawani Mukherjee. Despite the disappointment, there was a silver lining as the junior girls defeated Hong Kong 3-1 to claim fifth place, and in the process, book a Bahrain berth. The main problem the boys faced was the serve. "My boys couldn't even see the point of contact as their serves were too fast. China are the world champions because of their movement, techniques and speed," said Mukherjee.
Under the IOC Solidarity Scheme, the International Table Tennis Federation has offered a six-month scholarship to Harmeet Desai and Soumyajit Ghosh to train at Peter Karlsson's academy in Sweden.