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Updated: July 22, 2013 01:24 IST

India owes its Table Tennis gold to Sreeja

V. V. Subrahmanyam
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Akula Sreeja at the Global Table Tennis Academy in Hyderabad. - Photo: V.V. Subrahmanyam
Akula Sreeja at the Global Table Tennis Academy in Hyderabad. - Photo: V.V. Subrahmanyam

The 14-year-old clinched her maiden international gold, playing a key role in the Indian team’s win over Sri Lanka in the final of the South Asian Junior Table Tennis Championship in New Delhi

She was the only representative from the State in the Indian team for the South Asian Junior Table Tennis Championship in New Delhi. And, on Sunday, 14-year-old paddler Sreeja made it a memorable trip clinching her maiden international gold as she played a key role in India winning the team event defeating Sri Lanka in the final.

This victory also meant that India qualified for the Asian Junior Championship to be held in Doha later this year. 

A product of Global Table Tennis Academy in Anandnagar Colony here, this class X student of Rosary Convent did her coach Somnath Gosh and the officials proud.

“I am delighted at this performance. Honestly, when I entered the meet, I just told myself to give my best. And, the end result is a dream come true. I dedicate this win to my coaches, parents and well-wishers,” an elated Sreeja told The Hindu from New Delhi.

The India No. 3 in the sub-junior girls category had been training really hard under the tutelage of Somnath and today’s performance in the team event (the other members being Sagorika Mukherjee (Bengal) and Harshavardhini (Tamil Nadu) - could well be the beginning of a new chapter for this gifted youngster.

Somnath said India was the clear favourite to win the title and the gold for Sreeja was important in the context of boosting her morale. “She will be a different player now,” he remarked.

“We are hoping that Sreeja’s achievement will lift the morale of the other trainees too,” feels GTTA president Ramdoss Bharatan.

And, the joy of her parents — Praveen and Sudha — was understandable.

“We were waiting for this big moment and hope that she will keep winning many more medals at the highest level,” they said

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