Top guns gear up for stern test

The top talent in the country will be on display in the maiden 11Even Sports National Ranking Table Tennis Championship of the season at the Abhay Prashal from Monday.

In the absence of the duo, it will be a sort of an open field for the top four seeds – G. Sathiyan, Sanil Shetty, A. Amalraj and Harmeet Desai – to start the domestic season on a winning note.   -  G. Ramakrishna

Cometh the wet season, cometh the racquet sport season in India. The monsoon hasn’t really made its presence felt in western India, but that hasn't stopped the table tennis players across the country to hit indoors in order to make a mark on the bigger stage. The top talent in the country will be on display in the maiden 11Even Sports National Ranking Table Tennis Championship of the season at the Abhay Prashal from Monday.

The fact that the first of the five zonals is planned in the middle of a national camp for all age-groups presents an opportunity to promsing paddlers to impress India's head coach Massimo Constantini, who will be monitoring the action from close quarters along with his battery of Indian coaches.

While veterans Subhajit Saha and Soumyadeep Roy will continue their quest to keep pace with the youngsters, the tournament will miss the presence of India's top two paddlers. A. Sharath Kamal and Soumyajit Ghosh will miss the tournament due to their commitments for their respective German clubs.

In the absence of the duo, it will be a sort of an open field for the top four seeds – G. Sathiyan, Sanil Shetty, A. Amalraj and Harmeet Desai – to start the domestic season on a winning note.

In the women's draw, in the absece of veteran Mouma Das, seasoned Madhurika Patkar will be eager to build on the national champion's crown she won earlier this year in the absence of . It will be interesting to see if Olympian Manika Batra, seeded fourth, can lift her game after a mini-slump last season.

The six-day tournament will see more than 1,400 participants vying for honours in ten categories. The first three days will see men, women, youth boys and youth girls compete for the title, the last three days will see junior paddlers contending for the glory in the 16-table enclosure.

The seedings:

Men: G. Sathiyan (PSPB), Sanil Shetty (PSPB), A. Amalraj (PSPB), Harmeet Desai (PSPB), Jubin Kumar (PSPB), Subhajit Saha (PSPB), Manav Thakkar (PSPB), Devesh Karia (GUJ).

Women: Madhurika Patkar (PSPB), Sutirtha Mukherjee (WB), Pooja Sahasrabudhe (PSPB), Manika Batra (PSPB), Mousumi Paul (PSPB), Krittwika Sinha Roy (PSPB), Poulomi Ghatak (PSPB), Ankita Das (PSPB).

Youth boys: Manav Thakkar (PSPB), Birdie Boro (PSPB), Ronit Bhanja (WB), Utkarsh Gupta (DEL), Anirban Ghosh (WB), Lalrin Puia (MIZ), Sanish Ambekar (MAH), Siddhesh Pande (MAH).

Youth girls: Archana Kamath (PSPB), Moumita Dutta (WB), S. Selenadeepthi (TN), Priyadarsini Das (WB), C. Harsha Vardhini (TN), Ayhika Mukherjee (TTFI), Priyanka Pareek (RAJ) Sreeja Akula (TEL).