Poulomi Ghatak quietly retires, to focus on coaching

Poulomi Ghatak has quietly brought the curtains down on a career that saw her win the National crown for a stupendous seven times.

Poulomi Ghatak last played in the Senior Nationals in 2017 when she finished runner-up.   -  SANDEEP SAXENA

Poulomi Ghatak, one of the most successful names in women’s table tennis in India, has quietly brought the curtains down on a career that saw her win the National crown for a stupendous seven times. Poulomi was the biggest name in women’s table tennis in the last couple of decades and could have easily equalled the record of wining eight titles, which is currently held by Indu Puri.

Motherhood forced Poulomi to take a break from the sport after she finished runner-up in the senior Nationals in 2017 in Manesar and thereafter she has not made a comeback. “I was always looking to equal Indu Puri’s record of eight national titles but injuries and the need to attend to my infant son stopped me from getting back to the table,” she said.

“I am now focusing on fulfilling my dream of getting an Olympic medal through my students as I intend to start coaching very soon,” Poulomi, who represented India in the Sydney Olympics at the age of 17, said.

“Being a part of the Indian team meant that I had to travel for a great part of the year and that meant missing the growing-up period of my son. So I decided to be with him and took a break from the sport. I thought of returning to the table but I somehow could not motivate myself to make a comeback,” Poulomi said.

“I have represented the country in every tournament and at every level but now I feel it is time to use my experience and knowledge to train youngsters who will bring bigger laurels for the country,” thr Kolkata-born paddler added.

Poulomi has now joined forces with her husband, former national champion Soumyadip Roy, to turn their academy into a centre of excellence. "I have always felt that an academy is not complete if it is not able to support the trainees comprehensively. And for that we are constantly in touch with (Pullela) Gopichand, who has been very kind in sharing his knowledge and expertise with us. We have visited his academy in Hyderabad on a few occasions and are trying to work on the knowhow provided by him in turning our academy in Kolkata into a real centre of excellence," Poulomi says about their academy, which was inaugurated in June last year.