Siliguri’s 19-year-old duo of Soumyajit Ghosh and Ankita Das are looking to the London Olympics to come up with an ‘eye-catching’ performance.
These talented table tennis players are well aware of their potential and keen to use the “experience” to further their budding careers. The players, scheduled to attend a coaching camp in China till July 19, leave for London on July 22.
Ghosh, a doubles bronze medallist in the world junior championship, as well as a member of the historic world bronze medal-winning Indian junior team last year, is understandably excited about being part of the Olympics.
“I want to concentrate on my matches that start on July 28. Since there are no expectations from me, I want to perform freely and above my world ranking (168). If I get a chance, I would love to meet Usain Bolt in the Olympic Village,” says Ghosh, who admits to being shy of meeting illustrious performers from the field of sports. “In Dortmund in March this year, Abhinav Bindra was staying in the same hotel as the Indian team. It was only after Sharath Kamal approached Abhinav that I could shake hands with him,” reveals the youngster.
Ghosh says he is extremely fortunate to make the cut for the Olympics after grabbing the lone South Asian quota.
“Till December, I was not sure of being in the top-six ranked players to be part of the Olympic preparatory camp. It was only after I won the South zone men’s title and few more during the season, I could just about make the squad.
“Later, I had to beat Subhajit Saha to complete the three-member team, with Sharath Kamal and A. Amalraj having already booked their berths. In the qualifiers in Hong Kong, I was somewhat lucky to be well-rested to face Amalraj in the deciding match after he beat Sharath in seven games. I really played well to beat him for the second time in the qualifiers,” explains Ghosh.
Curiously, Ankita too followed a similar course to an Olympic berth. She made the team as the third member after beating the experienced Mouma Das, to join Poulomi Ghatak and K. Shamini. Later in Hong Kong, she upstaged Shamini to decide the South Asian berth.
“I was very tense when I learnt that I had to play Shamini for the Olympic spot. I called up Mantu Ghosh (former National champion from Siliguri) and she gave me the confidence to win,” says the articulate girl.
“Like, I did something memorable in the world junior championship (claiming the Fair Play Award); I want my performance to be memorable in the Olympics,” wishes the youngster.
Ankita, two months younger than Ghosh, is looking forward to watching tennis and boxing in London.
A fan of world No.1 Novak Djokovic, Ankita said “I love his spirit and the way he conducts himself on the court.”
Asked if there was a sportsperson they were looking forward to meeting during the Games, Ghosh and Ankita promptly came up with the same name, “Saina Nehwal.”
Keywords: 2012 London Olympics