Confident Indian paddlers leave for World Championships

New Delhi, May 11 (IANS) High on confidence following their best showing in the 19th Commonwealth Championships here, a nine-member Indian table tennis team left Saturday for the World Championships beginning Monday in Paris.

The five men and four women paddlers, led by Achanta Sharath Kamal and Mouma Das, who put up a sterling performance with four medals, including a silver medal in mixed doubles, will be the inspirational leader in the women’s section. K. Shamini, who was declared fit Friday, will be part of the squad and the reigning national champion was confident on the eve of her departure.

Sharath, who gave himself 6.5 marks on a scale of 10, said he was in good shape for the world meet and should peak in Paris.

“You can expect a better performance from me in the world event. I am mentally prepared for it. I am also happy for the women squad which did better than the men’s team at home. That is a good sign before a big event,” he said.

Though coach Bhawani Mukherjee rued the fact that India could not win a gold in the championships, he was satisfied with the overall preparations of the team.

“We would have liked at least one yellow metal. But despite our best efforts, Singapore paddlers continued to be the thorn in our flesh and that didn’t help our cause. However, I am happy our players must have gained mentally after playing the Singapore paddlers,” he said.

“I am sure our players must have learnt a lot from the home championships and will be confident to put their best foot forward in Paris. I am happy that our players have got good match practice before the World Championships,” he added.

India finished with nine medals — two silver (men’s team and mixed doubles) and seven bronze medals at the Commonwealth Championships that concluded Friday.

The squad:

Men: Achantha Sharath Kamal, Soumyajit Ghosh, Anthony Amalraj, Sanil Shetty, Harmeet Desai.

Women: Mouma Das, K. Shamini, Madhurika Patkar, Neha Aggarwal.

Coaches: Kamlesh Mehta (men) and Bhawani Mukherjee (women).

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