Top Five Indian Players at World Team Table Tennis Championships


The team is hoping for strong performances from these athletes at the event.

India is set to compete in the ITTF World Team Table Tennis Championship to be held in Chengdu, China from September 30 to October 9. Indian men’s and women’s teams are participating, with the former placed in group two and the latter in group five, alongside the German heavyweights.

China, Japan and Germany have always dominated the world championships and this time too it will be the battle between the three nations, but we could see some surprises.

Here is the list of the top five Indians to watch at the World Team Table Tennis Championships:

5. Manav Thakkar

Courtesy – Olympics.com

The former U-21 world number 1 will start the World Championships fresh out of the National Games. He was an important part of the Gujarat team that beat West Bengal to reach the final. At the World Championships, he will most likely compete in doubles with Utpal Shah. In the WTT tour, Manav and Harmeet Desai play doubles together, but Harmeet could partner with Sathiyan to strengthen the doubles section.

If necessary, Manav will also be the third singles player ahead of Utpal Shah. Shah is a southpaw and the Indian team could consider Utpal who adds variety.

4. Manika Batra

Courtesy – Olympics.com

Winner Dhyan Chand, 26, has been out of shape for a few months. At the 2022 Commonwealth Games, she returned home empty-handed, which came as a shock to the Indian sports fraternity. In the 2018 edition, she won four medals from which her career graph started to increase significantly.

In the recently concluded national games, she fought off a close encounter with Karnataka’s Kushi to reach the semi-finals. Manika didn’t look comfortable in her game and was constantly losing points. The preparation for the World Championships hasn’t been ideal but with experience in hand, it can turn the tide and help the Indian women’s team reach the knockout stages.

3. Harmeet Desai

The Gujarat paddler, after a successful outing at the Commonwealth Games, has won consecutive medals at the National Games by winning the singles and team events. In singles, Harmeet beat favorite Sathiyan Gnanasekaran in the semi-finals in front of his home crowd. The finals were no match for him beating Soumyajit Ghosh overall.

In the absence of Achanta Sharath Kamal, Harmeet will have to take on the responsibility of playing both singles and doubles. He and Sathiyan are the older members of the men’s side and will be looking to comfortably navigate knockouts.

2. Sreeja Akula

Courtesy – Indian Express

Sreeja Akula is India’s second highest ranked paddler in the women’s category and will play a vital role in the women’s section. This year (2022) has been one of his best seasons yet as he progressed to the final eight of many WTT tours and gained valuable experience.

At the 2022 Commonwealth Games, she played three games in one day without too much of a gap, but was able to give her best in all the games she appeared in. She came close to losing in the singles bronze medal match but continued to consolidate it. by winning the gold medal in mixed doubles with Achanta Sharath Kamal.

One of the bright spots for Indian table tennis at the Commonwealth Games was Sreeja Akula who fought to the finish in all of her matches.

1. Sathiyan Gnanasekaran

Sathiyan, the current world number 37, will lead the Indian men’s team in the absence of veteran Sharath Kamal. This is the first time in a major competition that Sathiyan has taken on the leadership role that could get the most out of him.

Ahead of the 2022 Commonwealth Games, Sathiyan defeated world number 6 Darco Jorgic on the WTT tour, which is one of the best wins of his entire career. In the past, he’s beaten top 20 players in the rankings like Simon Gauzy, but beating a top 10 player is pretty special.

At the CWG Games he won the bronze medal losing to Pitchford in the semi-finals and at the national games lost to Harmeet Desai to win the bronze medal. If Sathiyan is able to show consistency, India can certainly progress in the group stages. Sathiyan has also played for Japanese and Polish clubs for the past two years. The Japanese league is considered one of the best in the world. All these experiences should pay off at the World Championships.

One of the main missing would be Sharath Kamal who opted to rest after a busy schedule and female side Suthirtha Mukherjee. Suthirtha was in excellent form beating Manika Batra and Sreeja to win the national games. She also won the tag team event and won the women’s doubles with Ayhika Mukherjee.

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