The members of the senior selection committee of the Table Tennis Federation of India (TTFI) named a 10-member squad, comprising five men and five women, for the upcoming 26th Asian championships in Pyeongchang, Korea, and the 19th Asian Games in Hangzhou, China.
The selection panel has also named two reserve players in either category. All the players, including the reserves, will be for both events. The Asian Championships in Korea are scheduled between September 3 and 10, while the Asian Games are between September 24 and October 2.
Sharath Kamal will spearhead the men’s pack with G. Sathiyan, Harmeet Desai, Manav Thakkar and Manush Shah. Manika Batra, on the other hand, will guide the mixture of a young women’s team in terms of experience with Sreeja Akula, Sutirtha Mukherjee, Ayhika Mukherjee and Diya Chitale.
With restrictions on two singles entries per gender at the Games, the selectors have given their nod to Sharath, Sathiyan, Manika and Sreeja for the men’s and women’s singles, respectively. The selectors have justified their decision and faith based on the chosen individuals’ reputation, experience and world ranking points, according to a statement from TTFI.
However, in the Asian Championships, there are no such limitations, and all the men and women players are eligible to play in the singles events.
As for the doubles, Sharath will play only in the men’s doubles and Manika in the mixed doubles, both combining with Sathiyan. Sharath and Manika have opted out of other doubles events giving a free hand to the selectors on the premise that they would not want to disturb the pairs already performing well.
The left-right combination of Manush Shah and Manav Thakkar will be the second men’s doubles squad. In the women’s doubles, the selectors have gone with the pair of Ayhika and Sutirtha following its fantastic title-win recently in Tunis and Sreeja and Diya as the second duo. Harmeet will pair up with Sreeja in the second mixed doubles.
TTFI is yet to make a decision on the appointment of a foreign coach.
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