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Updated: May 4, 2013 17:35 IST

A big opportunity for Indians

Rakesh Rao
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Yang Zi. File photo
Yang Zi. File photo

The 19th Commonwealth table tennis championship, starting here on Sunday, offers upbeat Indians a huge opportunity to add some more international medals.

Since the inception of the event in 1971, Indians have collected six gold, eight silver and 17 bronze medals in team and open events. The aggregate could rise by the time the championship concludes on May 10.

There are mainly two reasons for this optimism. The Indian team is well prepared and the confidence in the home camp is high following the training stints in Sweden (men) and China (women). The more important factor is the absence of some of the leading male performers from all-conquering Singapore, strong challenger England and Nigeria.

Two-time defending champion Gao Ning of Singapore is taking a break ahead of the upcoming World championship in Paris.

His compatriot, the Commonwealth Games champion Yang Zi has opted out of the team event.

Even in the open events, he is not certain to play in singles.

England, without Liam Pitchford and Paul Drinkhall, will be far from formidable. . Nigeria, too, does not look the same force in the absence of Segun Toriola and Merotohun Monday.

The draw for the team events will be made on Saturday.

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