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Indian paddlers have to punch above their weight

Posted on Jul 21 2014 | IANS

Glasgow, July 21 : After an impressive showing in the last two Commonwealth Games, where they won eight medals, India's table tennis players may find it difficult to repeat the performance at the 2014 edition, starting here Wednesday.

Four years ago in Delhi, India recorded their best ever medal haul with one gold, one silver and three bronzes. In 2006 Melbourne Games, India had won three medals, including two gold medals. This time around theior men paddlers will have to punch above their weight as their top star Achanta Sharath Kamal is still the highest-placed world ranked player, but at 31 he will have to carry the load yet again.

There are seven gold medals on offer - three each for men and women and one for mixed doubles, from table tennis.

With powerhouses China and Korea not part of the Commonwealth, India will face stiff challenge from Singapore, England, Canada and Nigeria.

Veteran Sharath Kamal, gold medallist in Melbourne and New Delhi, will once again spearhead the Indian challenge. He was the star in Melbourne winning two gold medals, singles and team, and bagged the doubles gold in Delhi.

Sharath Kamal achieved his career best ranking of World No.38 a couple of months ago and will be looking to keep up his good performance and spearhead the medal prospects for the country.

Sharath will be assisted by Harmeet Desai and Soumyajit Ghosh in the men's event and the team will look to improve on their bronze winning achievement in the last edition.

The team event will see the introduction of doubles in the best of five tie. The first two singles will be followed by the doubles tie, where either of the singles player team up with the third player.

K.Shamini and Poulomi Ghatak will be leading the challenge in the women's category. If India are to repeat their silver winning performance in the women's team event from the last Games they will have to overcome the might of Singapore.

Indian teams:

Men: Achanta Sharath Kamal, Soumyajit Ghosh, Harmeet Desai, A.Amalraj, Sanil Shetty.
Women: K.Shamini, Manika Batra, Madhurika Patkar, Poulomi Ghatak, Ankita Das.

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