Asian Championships: Indian men's team expecting to better 2019 finish

Seeded fourth, the men's side will take on Iran in the Championship Division first round (quarterfinals) and if it wins, it will take on the winner of Hong Kong vs Korea in the semifinals.

Sathiyan Gnanasekaran and Achanta Sharath Kamal

FILE PHOTO: Sathiyan Gnanasekaran and Achanta Sharath Kamal of India during the 2019 ITTF-Asian Table Tennis Championships.   -  Getty Images

In the absence of China, teams such as Japan and Korea, among others, will vie for glory in the 25th ITTF Asian Table Tennis Championships to be held in Doha from September 28 to October 5. China, which won all the gold medals in seven categories of the last edition (2019) in Yogyakarta, Indonesia, had decided not to take part in order to focus on National Games.

The Indian men's team, too, is expecting to perform better than how it fared in 2019 with a fifth-place finish.

Seeded fourth, the men's side will take on Iran in the Championship Division first round (quarterfinals) and if it wins, it will take on the winner of Hong Kong vs Korea in the semifinals.

Meanwhile, the women's team placed in First Division has been grouped with Jordan and Nepal.

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Sathiyan Gnanasekaran and Achanta Sharath Kamal feel Iran would be a very competitive side and the team has to play its best to win. "Iran's Noshad Alamiyan and Nina Alamian are fighters. Most of the time we have defeated Iran. But we have to come out with a [clear] strategy," they said.

In the absence of Manika Batra, the Indian women’s team will be led by Sutirtha Mukherjee. It would hope to make it to the Championship Division.

In the individual events, Sharath and Sathiyan are seeded fifth and sixth in the men's singles. The Harmeet Desai-Manav Thakkar pair is sixth-seeded while the Sharath-Sathiyan duo has been seeded seventh. In the mixed doubles, Manav and Archana Kamath are seeded sixth.

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