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Medals a mere speck on paddlers' radar

other Updated: Aug 05, 2011 01:01 IST
Sharmistha Chaudhuri
Sharmistha Chaudhuri
Hindustan Times
Sharmistha Chaudhuri

The target Indian paddlers have set for themselves is to qualify for London. Winning medals will come later. "We've told the sports ministry that medals will be difficult," coach, Bhawani Mukherjee, told HT.

With the paddlers failing to qualify directly for the Games, due to their low ranking, they will play in the Asia qualification tournament in Hong Kong next year, to secure berths in the singles event.

Two-time Olympian, A Sharath Kamal narrowly missed out on a direct berth after losing in the first round of the World Championships in Rotterdam.

"We are yet to identify the paddlers for the qualification tournament, whose dates are to be announced. We have 10 men and women players as probables and the best four from each category will go for the meet," said Mukherjee.

Bench strength

In the recent 17th Asian Junior Table Tennis Championships, India managed two bronze. "If the juniors do well in domestic competition and are able to maintain their ranking among the top-4, they will be considered for the qualification tournament," said Mukherjee. Top juniors, Soumyajit Ghosh and Harmeet Desai, are considered medal hopefuls for the 2016 Rio Olympics.

No foreign coach yet
After Italian Massimo Constantini's tenure ended after the Asian Games, India are still without a foreign coach. With Swede Anders Johansson turning down the job, the Table Tennis Federation of India will shortly announce another name.