Top paddlers’ return for West Zone promises good competitions

SPORTS REPORTER
Friday, 5 October 2018

This has come as shot in the arm for the organizers, Sudesh Shelar Memorial Foundation, which is conducting the tournament in memory of the national-level player and sports administrator, who passed away in 2006. 

PUNE: There is some good news at last. A. Sharath Kamal, the top-ranked Indian in the world at No. 31, and Manika Batra, the new icon, will be part of the star parade at the 11Sports National Ranking (West Zone) Table Tennis Championships, beginning at the Mhalunge-Balewadi Sports Complex from Friday.

This has come as shot in the arm for the organizers, Sudesh Shelar Memorial Foundation, which is conducting the tournament in memory of the national-level player and sports administrator, who passed away in 2006. 

Harmeet Desai, who played a major role in India’s medal hunt at Gold Coast (CWG) and Jakarka (Asian Games), has joined the parade, but G. Sathiyan with his league commitment abroad has not taken the plunge yet. However, he did participate in the Institutional championships and emerged as the men singles champion.

Both Manav Thakkar, winner of two titles this season, and Archana Kamath, will miss the tournament as they are representing India at the Youth Olympics, beginning October 6, at Buenos Aires in Argentina.

Except for these aberrations, the West Zone championships promise the usual challenges and god competitions with contenders trying to win the last zonal before the nationals get underway from December.

Anthony Amalraj, who won title at Vijaywada, would like to add the West Zone crown while Harmeet will look to upstage him. Siddesh Pande should be itching to lift the trophy a second time. 

The return of Manika Batra could see tight contests for the top podium finish as challengers Suthirtha Mukherjee, (South and East Zone winner), Pooja Sahasrabudhe (Central Zone winner) and Divya Deshpande (Institutional champion) would like to make the crown their own as Manika is coming into the tournament with little match practice.

SEEDINGS
Mens:
1. Anthony Amalraj (PSPB), 2. Sudhanshu Grover (PSPB), 3. Arjun Ghosh (AAI), 4. Sanil Shetty (PSPB), 5. Sriram Sushmit (AAI), 6. Siddhesh Pande (Mah B), 7. Manush Shah (Guj), 8. Harmeet Desai (PSPB).

Womens:
1. Sutirtha Mukherjee (Har), 2. Manika Batra (PSPB), 3. Pooja Sahasrabuddhe (PSPB), 4. Madhurika Patkar (PSPB), 5. Divya Deshpande (PSPB), 6. Ahiyaka Mukherjee (RBI), 7. Sagarika Mukherjee (RSPB), 8. Prapti Sen (WB).

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