Karnam Spoorthy, the thirteen-year-old city paddler, is a marked girl. Amazed by her string of successes in various national events this year, coaches of several senior women players have videographed her movements, serves and reflexes and are analysing her game along with their trainees.
Already tipped as one of the bright prospects of Indian table tennis, Spoorthy led Andhra Pradesh team from the front by winning the sub-junior and junior gold medals in the team championships and grabbed yet another gold medal in the sub-junior individual event. “Earlier, she won three gold medals in the ranking tournaments held at Kolkata, New Delhi and Vadodara in the sub-junior segment,” said APTTA secretary S. M. Sultan.
The fleet-footed teenager, known for her aggressive brand of play and productive serves, created a flutter at Ahmedabad, the venue of the junior nationals early this month, in which AP defeated the much-fancied Maharashtra in the team final. “For the first time in the history of Indian table tennis under-14 sub-junior girls defeated under-17 girls to finish on the top. Spoorthy won both her singles and along with S. Akshi won the doubles too,” Mr. Sultan added.
Unfortunately, owing to the tight domestic schedule Spoorthy was forced miss a training stint in Sweden, for which invitation was extended by the International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF). “But the Stag International, under its development programme, has selected Andhra Pradesh as its first venue to conduct a coaching camp in June in which former national champion and Arjuna awardee Kamlesh Mehta would be training the AP girls. The Table Tennis Federation of India (TTFI) too is coming up with a camp at Indore, where the top two boys and girls from each state will hone their skills under the watchful eyes of reputable coaches.
Spoorthy, currently the top sub-junior player in the country, is a strong believer of unsettling her opponent with attacking strokes.