‘China in a class of its own’: Table tennis commentator Adam Bobrow explains what India lacks in the pursuit of excellence



Do you remember the tearful apology from the Chinese mixed doubles table tennis team for winning a silver medal at the Tokyo Olympics? Liu Shiwen and Xu Xin’s duo have publicly apologized to the nation for not winning the gold medal after losing the final to their Japanese counterparts. They did it because for the Chinese nationalist, Xu and Liu standing on the second highest step of the podium, which is still an incomplete dream for unquantifiable athletes around the world, was not enough. If there was a good example to show the pressure on Chinese athletes to be the best, this is it.

Pressure is also the reason for China’s dominance in the sports world. They finished second in the medal count with 38 gold medals and the belief reads that the system in place in the country and the investments made for the athletes deserve nothing more than a gold medal.

READ ALSO | Sharath Kamal all for national camps but with better facilities

To provide a more in-depth look at the Chinese table tennis ecosystem, The Hindustan Times caught up with famous TT commentator, the “Voice of Table Tennis” Adam Bobrow for an interview.

Also look | Famous commentator Adam Bobrow, the “voice of table tennis”, speaks to Hindustan Times

Bobrow has a wide range of talents and is a popular figure in the table tennis world. In 2014 he was named Senior Sport Commentator by the International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF) and since then he has been recognized worldwide as “The Voice of Table Tennis”. He has so far commented on over 100 international tournaments around the world and has seen how different nations operate up close.

When asked why China, and countries like Japan and South Korea, were so far ahead of the rest of the crowd, Bobrow explained:

“China is in a class of its own. There is no comparison. Japan is very strong and (South) Korea is very strong, but China is a class of its own and we have to recognize it. there is incredible pressure on Chinese players. Chinese players have very individual personalities, they all have a sense of humor, some more than others, and they have all sacrificed a lot to make it their career and to qualify and be part of the greatest team in the history of the sport. “

Indian table tennis has seen a significant increase on the global spectrum. Whether it’s G Sathiyan, Sharath Kamal or Manika Batra reaching the top career rankings and entering the top 50 and top 100, or Manav Thakkar becoming the world No. 1 in the U-18 category, the level of TT in the country is definitely on an upward trajectory. However, paddlers still lack a sharp edge and it has a lot to do with the system.

Bobrow, who has competed in over 30 countries in various tournaments, and is also a popular YouTuber, explained what India must do to continue its quest for greatness.

“China is putting a lot of resources into table tennis, including government support. I know Vita Dani and Niraj Bajaj are very supportive of table tennis in India. This has already had a huge effect on the growth of the level (of players) in India. And it just happened in four years. China has been doing it for decades.

“And by that, I don’t mean supporting him. They’ve set up a system with thousands and thousands of coaches and probably hundreds and thousands of six-year-olds who are learning the right technique from their earliest years. young age, giving a solid foundation to their foundation. So it will not happen overnight. But it has to start somewhere and India has started the journey, but it has to continue to spread to the grassroots. kids need to be good at it and kids need to care and kids need other kids to do activities.

“Create schools against schools (competitions) from primary schools and get coaches in schools to teach everything correctly. Market it well and create superstars from Manika Batras, Sutirtha Mukherjees and Archana Kamaths to Sharath Kamals and Sathiyan Gnanasekarans to Harmeet Desais and Manav Thakkars. It’s about making them known in India, ”said Bobrow.

Whenever a conversation around the Indian TT begins, it usually doesn’t end without the mention of the UTT. Ultimate Table Tennis is a TT league based on a franchise in India, the first of its kind, which was launched in 2017. Since then, three seasons have taken place and due to the miserable coronavirus pandemic, the tournament n has not been able to take place since 2019.

Do you remember the tearful apology from the Chinese mixed doubles table tennis team for winning a silver medal at the Tokyo Olympics? Liu Shiwen and Xu Xin’s duo have publicly apologized to the nation for not winning the gold medal after losing the final to their Japanese counterparts. They did it because for the Chinese nationalist, Xu and Liu standing on the second highest step of the podium, which is still an incomplete dream for unquantifiable athletes around the world, was not enough. If there was a good example to show the pressure on Chinese athletes to be the best, this is it.

Pressure is also the reason for China’s dominance in the sports world. They finished second in the medal count with 38 gold medals and the belief reads that the system in place in the country and the investments made for the athletes deserve nothing more than a gold medal.

READ ALSO | Sharath Kamal all for national camps but with better facilities

To provide a more in-depth look at the Chinese table tennis ecosystem, The Hindustan Times caught up with famous TT commentator, the “Voice of Table Tennis” Adam Bobrow for an interview.

Bobrow has a wide range of talents and is a popular figure in the table tennis world. In 2014 he was named Senior Sport Commentator by the International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF) and since then he has been recognized worldwide as “The Voice of Table Tennis”. He has so far commented on over 100 international tournaments around the world and has seen how different nations operate up close.

When asked why China, and countries like Japan and South Korea, were so far ahead of the rest of the crowd, Bobrow explained:

“China is in a class of its own. There is no comparison. Japan is very strong and (South) Korea is very strong, but China is a class of its own and we have to recognize it. there is incredible pressure on Chinese players. Chinese players have very individual personalities, they all have a sense of humor, some more than others, and they have all sacrificed a lot to make it their career and to qualify and be part of the greatest team in the history of the sport. “

Indian table tennis has seen a significant increase on the global spectrum. Whether it’s G Sathiyan, Sharath Kamal or Manika Batra reaching the top career rankings and entering the top 50 and top 100, or Manav Thakkar becoming the world No. 1 in the U-18 category, the level of TT in the country is definitely on an upward trajectory. However, paddlers still lack a sharp edge and it has a lot to do with the system.

Bobrow, who has competed in over 30 countries in various tournaments, and is also a popular YouTuber, explained what India must do to continue its quest for greatness.

“China is putting a lot of resources into table tennis, including government support. I know Vita Dani and Niraj Bajaj are very supportive of table tennis in India. This has already had a huge effect on the growth of the level (of players) in India. And it just happened in four years. China has been doing it for decades.

“And by that, I don’t mean supporting him. They’ve set up a system with thousands and thousands of coaches and probably hundreds and thousands of six-year-olds who are learning the right technique from their earliest years. young age, giving a solid foundation to their foundation. So it will not happen overnight. But it has to start somewhere and India has started the journey, but it has to continue to spread to the grassroots. kids need to be good at it and kids need to care and kids need other kids to do activities.

“Create schools against schools (competitions) from primary schools and get coaches in schools to teach everything correctly. Market it well and create superstars from Manika Batras, Sutirtha Mukherjees and Archana Kamaths to Sharath Kamals and Sathiyan Gnanasekarans to Harmeet Desais and Manav Thakkars. It’s about making them known in India, ”said Bobrow.

Whenever a conversation around the Indian TT begins, it usually doesn’t end without the mention of the UTT. Ultimate Table Tennis is a TT league based on a franchise in India, the first of its kind, which was launched in 2017. Since then, three seasons have taken place and due to the miserable coronavirus pandemic, the tournament n has not been able to take place since 2019.

Bobrow has been in the league since its inception. If he’s not commenting, he can be seen sporting his rather unique TT outfits and giving the pros a hard time with his trick shot, which he and his YouTube channel are famous for. Although he brought a name and fame to players and the sport, it is still not enough. Bobrow explains why:

“Of course that’s not enough. If that was the case India would beat China and we would already be there. It’s enough to keep going, so no too. But it’s a good start. C ‘is a step in the right direction. It’s survival India is doing remarkably well and is on the right track and will learn more and implement new things and raise new funds. If we can develop the sport so that when people invest, they see a return on their investment, then more and more people will invest and that adds to the pie for everyone involved, “he added.

The prolific commentator, who has worked for over a decade doing voice over for animation, video games and commercials for TV, radio and Hollywood movies, concludes: Very exciting. I am very drawn to the mystery. When I see Archana Kamath, when I see Sreeja Akula, when I see Manav Thakkar, there are so many players who are so far ahead of them and who have so much potential. I don’t know (what’s going to happen). It’s really exciting to watch India climb. “


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