Back from a strenuous training stint in China,coach Bhawani Mukherjee is confident that the Indian women paddlers will make a strong statement in the upcoming Commonwealth Table Tennis Championships starting in New Delhi from May 5.
The women paddlers had been performing below par at some recent international competitions,compelling the federation to arrange a training camp at the Zhengding Training Base in China for the upcoming Commonwealth championships at home,immediately followed by the World Championship in Paris.
In charge of the women’s team,Mukherjee seems convinced that the girls would draw from the experience in the upcoming events.
“The progress of the women’s team has been slower as compared to their male counterparts. We took them to China as we wanted them to practice against players from the top Table Tennis nation,” Mukherjee said.
“We had a great coaching camp. We practiced for six hours in a day. Our paddlers got to play against local players. The girls enjoyed it and I am sure they will come out as better players,” he said.
The Indian quartet of reigning national champion K Shamini,Mouma Das,Madhurika Patkar and Neha Aggarwal will be leading India’s challenge in the competition to be played at the Thyagaraj’s stadium. “We have a good team. We have the potential to bag medals,” the Dronacharya awardee said.
The area of focus for the players was to improve on long rallies besides working on foot work and service.
“We worked on long rallies. If you see strong table tennis nations,they are good at playing long rallies. It requires high level of concentration and endurance. They have immensely improved on their foot work and service,” he said.
As India prepares to host the Commonwealth Championships for the record fifth time,Mukherjee hopes to improve on the seven medals (one gold,two silver and four bronze) the Indians bagged in Glasgow,Scotland in 2009.
“Commonwealth Championships is very important for us. We do well in this competition. I am confident that our players will do better this time,” he added.