Paddlers head abroad for training stint

The Table Tennis Federation of India (TTFI) has sent two teams, one comprising youth paddlers and the other consisting of four juniors, to Germany and Sweden, respectively, to train and compete in the European circuit keeping in mind India's participation in major international events ahead.

While a ten-member team, comprising national champion Anthony Amalraj and Achanta Sharath Kamal and two girls, left early Wednesday to participate in the GAC Group ITTF World Tour German Open to be held at Bremen (Germany) between October 31 and November 4, a four-member junior squad departed for Falkenberg on Monday to prepare for the World Junior Table Tennis Championships at Hyderabad from December 9.

Sharath, who is already in Sweden competing in the European circuit, and others will join the squad that departed for Bremen. Utkarsh Gupta, Abhishek Yadav, Sabhya Virmani and Sudhanshu Grover left for Falkenberg, accompanied by coach Kamlesh Mehta for a training stint under the ITTF's WFIM project. The training sessions, according to Mehta, will hold the paddlers in good stead during the World Juniors.

Under the scheme, the ITTF has made all arrangements with the Falkenberg centre for lodging while the airfare has been provided by the Sports Authority of India. "This will help our boys adequately before the big event at Hyderabad," said TTFI secretary-general Dhanraj Choudhary. "I hope they prepare their ground well at the centre," he added.

Squad: Boys : Soumyajit Ghosh, Harmeet Desai, G. Sathiyan, Sourav Saha, A. Sharath Kamal, A. Amalraj, Nitin Thiruvengadam and Nishad Bharat Shah. Girls : Mallika Bhandarkar and Nikhat Banu. Coaches : Sunil Babras and Monalisa Mehta.

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