Eighteen-year-old Ankita Das is elated at having being named among probables for the Olympic qualification tournament to be held in Hong Kong in April. She had never thought that a sport she had adopted as a pastime aimed at curing her digestive problems would gain her repute at the international arena some day. In November last year,she made big news by reaching the quarter-finals of the World junior table tennis championships.
Talking to The Indian Express,Ankita said,I was confident because of my performance at the recently concluded senior nationals at Lucknow that I will be selected among probables for the Olympic qualifiers. I really want to get selected for the Olympics. I know that table tennis giants will be there vying for the medals at the Olympics and it is going to be tough but I have grown up with one view that achieving something could be tough but trying your best to achieve that is not that tough. There is no harm in trying. At the senior nationals table tennis championships here,she put up a good show. In the singles semis,she put up a good fight before going down 3-4 against a seasoned player like Poulami Ghatak. Ghatak went on to become the national champion as she outclassed defending champion K Shamini 4-0 in the final. In the womens team event,though her team North Bengal had to face a 2-3 defeat at the hands of Maharashtra A in the final but Ankita beat players like Mamta Prabhu and Madhurika Patkar to add thrill to the clash.
Ankita is happy with what life has given her at a young age. As a child,I used to suffer from digestive problems. After eating little bit,I used to vomit. When I was five-years-old,the doctor advised my father Ashim Das to let me take up some sport involving physical activity. As the Siliguri Table Tennis Academy was quite close to our house in Siliguri,so I took up table tennis just by chance. I took it up as a pastime and for medical reasons just as I would have taken any other sport as my main aim was to see if it could cure my digestion. When the medals started coming,I became serious about the game. My exploits at the World junior championships have instilled more confidence in me. I even won the Fair Play award in those championships.
Ankita who has won medals at the international and national level says that often she is able to defeat paddlers who are quite senior to her because when on court she does not put pressure on herself regarding the reputation of the opponent and just plays her natural game.