‘The players themselves know it was a disappointing show’
Conceding that the performance of the Indian team in the Rio Olympics table tennis competition was not up to his expectations, former National coach Kamlesh Mehta, on Thursday, said it does not mean they should not have taken the flight to Brazil.
"Yes, the players themselves know it was a disappointing show. We expected at least two of them (four in all) to enter the second round, but it did not happen," said Mehta, on the sidelines of a press conference to announce the launch of a nation-wide inter-schools event on August 29, the birthday of hockey wizard Dhyan Chand.
"But it cannot be said they should not have taken part (and avoid the humiliation)," added the former eight-time National singles champion and three-time Olympian.
Two men - Achanta Sharath Kamal and Soumyajit Ghosh – and women paddlers Mouma Das and newcomer Manika Batra had qualified for the Olympic Games. However, all of them came a cropper without winning a single match and made a tame exit.
Kamal and Ghosh lost to Adrian Crisan of Romania and Padasak Tanviriyavechakul of Thailand respectively by identical 1-4 margins while Mouma, in her second Olympics, was blanked 4-0 by Daniela Dodean of Romania.
While 34-year-old Chennai-born Kamal, who bagged the gold in the 2006 Commonwealth Games in Melbourne, took part in his third successive Games, it was the second for the Kolkata-born, 23-year-old Ghosh.
Manika lost 2-4 to Poland's Katarzyna Grzybowska.
Asked about the total domination of China in the ping pong game, Mehta said rules have been changed but they train so hard and so well that they remain on top.
As expected, China swept all four titles on offer – men's and women's singles and the two team championships.