Table tennis players Nikhil Saini and Suhaan Gulati in Ludhiana on Tuesday.(HT PHOTO)
Table tennis players Nikhil Saini and Suhaan Gulati in Ludhiana on Tuesday.(HT PHOTO)

Punjab State Ranking TT Tournament: Despite injuries, illnesses, they aim at excellence

By HT Correspondent, Ludhiana
PUBLISHED ON OCT 08, 2019 06:30 AM IST

Defeating injuries and diseases, two table tennis players are aiming at achieving top slots in the ranking of table tennis players in the country. 

Nikhil Saini, 18, from Patiala and Suhaan Gulati, 12, from Jalandhar, who have played against each other in several tournaments, are once again gearing up for the match between them during the Punjab State Ranking Table Tennis Tournament being played here. 

The players are participating in the youth category and will play a match against each other on Wednesday. 

Nikhil, who has played against Suhaan earlier in tournaments and won, said, “Suhaan plays much better than many senior players and gives a tough competition. Being 12, and reaching in the semi-finals or finals of under-18 or under-21 categories is an achievement in itself.” 

Nikhil said he had remained Punjab champion for the past eight years since 2010 and had played around 25 national-level competitions, but yet he is to earn a medal in the national tournament. 

Nikhil said, “When I was playing zonal nationals last year, I was at rank 19 in the country, but in September, when he went to play South Zone Championship held at Vijayawada, I suffered from dengue there and returned without playing the match.It took me around two months to regain the strength and my fitness and, during those two months, I missed two more national championships — Pune Zone and East Zone — due to which my country rank slipped from 19 to 35.”

He added, “Now I am aiming to improve my rank in the country. My aim is to become an IPS officer via sports.” 

He said he devotes around four hours (two hours in the morning and two hours in the evening) to sharpen his skills. 

Suhaan said, “In 2017, I suffered a back injury due to which the doctor advised to avoid physical activity for about a year. But, I recovered in around 10 months and, after recovery, I participated in the state championship and won a gold medal,” he said. 

Suhaan said he was at rank 3 in the country last year after playing all the nationals in different zones. He has also won a bronze medal at the India Open Table Tennis Championship held at Sonepat in January. 

Suhann, aiming to improve his rank, Suhaan practises for around two hours after school.

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