Indian paddlers set for World Table Tennis challenge

India’s top paddler Sharath Kamal (24), G. Sathiyan (30) have been seeded in the men’s singles main draw, and by all indications should have it easy in the first round.

Sathiyan is seeded in the men's singles main draw.   -  AP

In a field studded with star paddlers around, India will have to do more than just put its best foot forward to make a mark in the World Table Tennis (individual) Championships to be held here from November 23 to 29.

World-class players Fan Zhendong, Tomakazu Harimoto, Hugo Calderano among others in men's singles and Chen Meng, Sun Yingsha, Mima Ito in women's will be the star attractions in the Worlds to be held on the American soil for the first time. Three-time champion Ma Long of China has opted out and will not defend his singles crown.

India’s top paddler Sharath Kamal (24), G. Sathiyan (30) have been seeded in the men’s singles main draw, and by all indications should have it easy in the first round. Sharath will take on Cedric Nuytink of Belgium (ranked 73) while Sathiyan will lock horns with Ukraine’s Yaroslav Zhmudenko (140).

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Manika Batra, India’s No.1 woman paddler, will have a tricky opponent in Bruna Takashi of Brazil in the round of 128.

Indians have been seeded in men’s doubles, women’s doubles, and mixed doubles.

India last won an individual medal when S. R. G. Suppiah won the singles bronze medal in the first edition of the London Worlds in 1926. Suppiah reached the semifinals losing to Zoltan Mechlovits of Hungary.

The team:

Men: Sharath Kamal, G. Sathiyan, Harmeet Desai, A. Amalraj; Women: Manika Batra, Sutirtha Mukherjee, Ayhika Mukherjee, Madhurika Patkar.

Men’s doubles: Sathiyan-Sharath (13th seed); Harmeet & Amalraj; Women’s doubles: Manika-Archana (10th); Madhurika-Sutirtha; Mixed doubles: Sathiyan-Manika (9th); Sharath-Archana.

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