Name: Payas Jain

Age: 17

Discipline: Table Tennis

Education: Delhi University

Beginning: As a child, Payas Jain didn’t love table tennis despite the fact that his parents — Jinendra and Shweta Jain — were accomplished paddlers. “I loved pizzas and other junk food, and I was a bubbly boy,” he says.

It was the defeat to a girl in the first round of an under-8 mixed table tennis tournament in New Delhi that spurred him to focus on the sport.

“That [loss] hurt me. I just wanted to beat that girl. In the next tournament, I beat her. That girl, Tisha Kohli is my best friend now,” says Payas. At nine years, Payas started to take the sport seriously.

A never-say-die attitude when the chips are down has made Payas the top-ranked under-19 paddler in India and No. 2 in the world in the same section.

In December 2021, Payas bagged a singles bronze medal in the World Youth (u-19) championships in Portugal. He is also the current junior (u-18) and youth (u-21) National champion.


Father-son partnership: Payas with his father Jinendra. “It is a huge advantage to have my father as coach. My connection with him [my father] is different,” says Payas.


Born and brought up in Delhi, Payas trains at the Table Tennis Foundation (TTF) in Swaroop Nagar in the city, which is run by his father Jinendra, a lawyer. Payas is very ambitious and has the necessary tools, resources, and support of his family and the Table Tennis Federation of India (TTFI) to take his game to the next level. He trains hard every day and is punctual for the sessions.

Jinendra has given his son the benefits of sports science training at TTF. Payas uses the services of a physiotherapist, a psychologist, and a nutritionist at the Foundation. Recently, TTF has also hired a foreign coach Tibor Bednar (Slovakia).

Aim: Payas’ short-term goal is to enter into the top-4 in the men’s section in India. “In the long term, I want to win a medal in the 2024 Paris Olympics,” says Payas. He is also keen on being a part of the Indian team for the 2022 Commonwealth Games and Asian Games.

Strengths & weaknesses: A naturally attacking player, Payas’s strengths are his power-packed strokes on both flanks. “I am mentally calm and strong. When I am not playing well, I get passive and get defensive, which is not good.”

Favourite player: China’s Zhang Jike, a former World No.1 singles paddler. Payas says he admires the Chinese player for his attitude and the way he plays.

The youngster feels it is difficult to juggle between studies and sports, especially if you are playing at the highest level. “When I was in Std. X, I was unable to go to school regularly due to frequent International and National tournaments. My school — Bhatnagar International School (Vasant Kunj) — was supportive, as was my family. Once I finished my tournament abroad and directly went to the Std. X exam hall from the airport,” remembers Payas. “The Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) also gave me an exemption for one paper,” he adds.

When the Std. X results were announced, Payas was happy that he was successful. “I called up my father, who replied: ‘Oh you have passed, let’s go for a party.’”