Fidel R. Snehit, India No. 2 in the under-21 category of Table Tennis, put up a pretty impressive show in the circuit before the world was hit by COVID-19. The Hyderabad youngster is not wasting time by sitting at home in desperation during the lockdown.

With his scheduled training programme in Europe this summer going awry because of coronavirus, Snehit has been watching a lot of his own videos and that of Olympic and world champion Ma Long of China to improve his all-round game at MLR-UTT Academy here.

The fact that Snehit jumped from No. 337 at the start of 2019 to No. 40 in the world U-21 rankings in the space of 16 months is, perhaps, proof of his talent given his semifinal appearance in the Oman Open and gold at the Khelo India and National youth championships.

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This second-year student of journalism was the first player from Hyderabad, in 59 years, to win a national title last year. Mir Khasim Ali had clinched one in 1960. The performance inspired him to think big and he is now focussing on many more aspects of his game. Meanwhile, Ultimate Table Tennis (UTT) is supporting his academy by providing specialised physios, mental conditioning coaches and nutrition experts.

Being a big fan of tennis great Rafael Nadal, Snehit is following his path by keeping himself mentally fresh to be ready for any challenge whenever action begins in the circuit.

“Yes, it is frustrating to stay home. But no options left, many of us (athletes) are forced to look for alternative methods to stay in touch with the game,” he says.

With coach Somnath Ghosh guiding him at the academy, Snehit is looking far beyond and targeting to make it to the senior Indian team at the earliest and then wants to reach the Olympics.

“I am aware of the challenges and competition at the highest level. But, I am confident that once I start competing in international events, I should be a much better player given the kind of training programme I am used to in the recent past,” he concluded.