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India's teenage paddlers living a dream at the Olympics

Last updated on: July 25, 2012 08:53 IST

India's teenage paddlers living a dream at the Olympics

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Harish Kotian

India's young duo of Soumyajit Ghosh and Ankita Das are hoping to make waves at their first Olympics, but admitted finding it tough to keep their excitement in check as they live their dream of performing at the London Games.

Ghosh is the only qualifier from India for the men's table tennis competition and is looking to draw inspiration from his team bronze medal at last year's World Junior Championships.

"It gives me much confidence for the future. I remind myself of that victory every time I play to build my confidence," the 19-year-old said.


Image: Soumyajit Ghosh and Ankita Das
Photographs: ARTSMITH

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'Table tennis is getting bigger and bigger in India'

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"This is my first Olympic Games, I'm very excited, but at the same time I am a little nervous because it is a huge, big event. The (Olympic) Village is perfect, just what I expected and I am very excited about the Opening Ceremony too. It is the biggest event on earth."

Ghosh believes that the table tennis scene in India is improving and a good performance in London will boost it further.

"Table tennis is getting bigger and bigger in India. We are stronger; we are now 27 in the team ranking, before we were 29, so we are getting better. Our target here is to get into the top 24 or better," he said.


Image: Soumyajit Ghosh
Photographs: ARTSMITH
Tags: India , London

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'Everyone is very strong here'

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Though Ghosh, who is ranked ranked 206th in the world, is looking to make a mark in London, he is honest enough to admit that a medal may be beyond him in London.

"Everyone is very strong here. I can't give a specific name as everyone is very good."

He picked China as the nation to beat at the Games.

"They (Chinese players) have 20 players who are World champions, who can train together. This is an advantage for them. We should learn something from them."


Image: Soumyajit Ghosh and Ankita Das
Photographs: ARTSMITH
Tags: Ghosh , London , China

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'To play at the Olympics is like a dream for me'

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India's only representative in the London 2012 women's table tennis competition Anita who was introduced to the sport because of a childhood sickness.

For her it is a dream come true to perform at the Olympics, something she will cherish forever.

"It is my passion and I will play an Olympic Games, it is like a dream for me."

Her journey is quite interesting and she only took up table tennis on the advice of a family doctor after suffering from stomach problems as a child.

"When I was four I had a digestive problem and my physician suggested to my father that I play this game to help," informed the 19-year-old.


Image: Ankita Das
Photographs: ARTSMITH
Tags: Anita , London , India

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'I have a little bit of pressure because I have to play my best'

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She took up the sport as a pastime. Soon her potential was discovered by her coaches and she graduated to national level competitions followed by international tournaments.

"I am so happy that I qualified, there is lots of excitement. I have a little bit of pressure because I have to play my best (table) tennis, so I will try my best."

Ankita won the lone Olympics place from South Asia after beating compatriot Shamini Kumaresan at the Asian Olympic qualification tournament in Hong Kong in April 2012.

The youngster cannot hide her excitement of qualifying for the mega-event.

"I am really happy that my family, my friends, my coach are always with me; there is very big support for me. God is with me, I think, this is my first Games and there is lots of excitement, lots of happiness."


Image: Ankita Das
Photographs: ARTSMITH

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