Indian men will take on Uzbekistan while the women will face sixth seeded Germany in their opening group match of the World team table tennis championships to be held here from September 30 to October 9.
The Indian teams will have a free day on September 30 and will play their first match on October 1. The knockout begins on October 5. Defending champion China is seeded first in both the men’s and women’s team events.
The Indian men’s team will be hoping to make it to the knockout stage. But it will not be easy with second seeded Germany, France and Uzbekistan. The women’s side will have it quite tough, too, as it has fifth seeded Germany, Egypt and Czech Republic in its Group.
In the absence of veteran paddler and Birmingham Commonwealth Games star Sharath Kamal, the onus will be on G. Sathiyan. The highest ranked Indian in the world at 37, Sathiyan needs to get adequate support from Harmeet Desai, Manush Shah, Manav Thakkar and Sanil Shetty. In women’s section, a struggling Manika Batra at World No.44 will be the backbone of the team. The rest are all first-timers.
Overall, 16 teams in each of the men’s and women’s events will qualify for the knockout stage. The top two teams in each group will make it to the round of 16 along with the four best-placed third teams in the groups in both the men’s and women’s events.
GROUPINGS (STAGE 1)
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