Soumyajit Ghosh: ‘IPL-style tournament will help Indian TT’

Soumyajit Ghosh feels the setting and the pressure of performing in a grand stage like the Olympics unsettled his rhythm at the Games as he made an unceremonious exit in the first round in Rio de Janeiro.

“I feel Indian table tennis players need more international exposure in the professional circuit. The idea of having a table tennis tournament on the lines of the IPL will help."   -  REUTERS

Soumyajit Ghosh feels the setting and the pressure of performing in a grand stage like the Olympics unsettled his rhythm at the Games as he made an unceremonious exit in the first round in Rio de Janeiro last month.

“My ranking was within top-70 in the world and I was playing against an opponent (Padasak Tanviriyavechakul of Thailand) whose ranking was much above 150. I could have got through the challenge easily but could not get the right shots at the right time,” said Ghosh, who was felicitated by the Bengal Olympic Association on receiving the Arjuna Award. “I have been playing in the European pro-circuit for some time but my form seemed to desert me on the day when it mattered in the Olympics,” said the former National champion (2012 and 2104). The whole Indian table tennis contingent suffered first round exit in the quadrennial games.

“I feel Indian table tennis players need more international exposure in the professional circuit. The idea of having a table tennis tournament on the lines of the IPL will help a lot as many young players will get the opportunity of watching the top players of the world from close,” Ghosh said about the proposed franchise-based tournament, likely to be introduced in the country next year. Ghosh, currently ranked 73 in the world, said his next target is doing well in the Commonwealth Games in Gold Coast 2018.

Sourav Kothari, the Asian and the National billiards champion in 2014 and an Arjuna Awardee along with Ghosh, said he as an Indian sportsperson was delighted with the way P. V. Sindhu and Sakshi Malik won Olympic medals. “Everyone will agree that their medals were the result of individual efforts but we as a nation failed to do much in Rio. I saw the same feeling of disappointment in our Prime Minister Narendra Modi when I went to collect my award,” he said. “I feel we need to have a more comprehensive sports policy and the government’s decision to create a task force for preparations for the Olympics is a step in the right direction,” Kothari said.