Peter Engel, India’s coach, feels Sharath Kamal should improve his backhand game to make progress in international rankings. “That way, he can push his opponent farther which will give him enough time to finish off the point on his forehand,” said the German, on the sidelines of the Senior National table tennis championship here on Friday.
On the other hand, Engel felt Soumyajit Ghosh, the reigning National singles champion, had a “complete” game. Ghosh, according to Engel, who reads the game pretty well can become more powerful.
Sanil Shetty, the coach said, has an amazing forehand. “He, though, needs to maintain high intensity strokes for a longer period.”
Engel was scathing on India’s women players, saying they “don’t make good use of their legs.” They should present a picture of ‘we are the ones to beat.’ You are not expected to be nice to your opponent.”
On India’s chances in the Commonwealth Games (beginning July 23) in Glasgow, Scotland, Engel says the colour (of the medal) is not as important as the number.
“The home advantage is not there (like last time). We will do our best,” he says. Engel, whose official contract with the Indian team ends after the Asian Games, is looking forward to the 2016 Rio Olympics. “I am for a longer term with the Indian team which will give me time to work on lot of things,” says the German, who will turn 60 on January 13.
On the Indian bureaucracy whose ways he found difficult to understand, Engel says “I would have to learn to live with the system. I would be happy if things moved faster.”
Engel’s wife, Judit Magos, a two-time European singles champion, who is now a psychiatrist, sometimes gives the German some tips on the Indian paddlers, after watching them on the internet.
Meanwhile, the top four women players, Madhurika Patkar, Pooja Sahasrabudhe, Ankita Das and K. Shamini, in that order, have been given a bye in the singles first round. Sagarika Mukherjee (North Bengal) who performed well in the team event lost in the qualifying round of singles.
In the men’s singles, Sharath Kamal has been seeded No.1 while Amalraj, second and Sanil Shetty, third. Ghosh has been seeded fifth as he missed three National zonal tournaments.
At the events, it was smooth sailing for the established players in the women’s first round.
Women (First round): Charvi Kawle (Mah ‘B’) bt K.V. Vaishali (AP) 4-2; Takeme Sarkar (RSPB) bt Frenaz Chipia (Guj) 4-1.
Mousmi Pal (WB) bt Shweta Parte (Mah ‘A’) 4-3; Krittwika Sinha Roy (AAI) bt Vedika Garg (Mah ‘A’) 4-0; S. Krithika (TN) bt Sayani Bose (NB) 4-0; N. Arul Selvi (IB) bt Maria Rony (Ker) 4-3; Manika Batra (Del)bt Tanushree Das Gupta (Meg) 4-0; Mouma Das (WB) bt Archana G Kamath (Kar) 4-0.
Esha Monga (Del)bt N. Vidya (TN) 4-3; A.V. Niveditha (RBI) bt Tanya Dutta (RSPB) 4-2; Divya Deshpande (Mah ‘A’) bt Oishwariya Deb (AAI) 4-0; Soumi Mondal (PSPB) bt M. Mounika (AP) 4-1; Ayhika Mukherjee (AAI) bt Nirja Trivedi (Guj) 4-0; Rutuja Khopkar (Mah ‘B’) bt Medha Moitra (NB) 4-3; Sukanya Bose (NB)bt Dwijal Tr ivedi (Guj) 4-0.
Sutirtha Mukherjee (WB) bt Anuska Dutta (AAI) 4-2; Mallika Bhandarkar (Mah ‘A’) bt Nikita Rautela (Del) 4-0.
Anindita Chakraborty (RSPB) bt Karnam Spoorthy (AP) 4-0; SanyaSehgal (Del) bt V. Sneha (TN) 4-3; Amrutha Pushpak (TN) bt Sereha Jacob(Ker) 4-1.
Poulami Ghatak (WB) bt Pooja Sharma (MP) 4-0; Neha Aggarwal (PSPB) bt Shailoo Noor Basha (AP) 4-1; Shreya Ghosh (WB) bt Senhora D’Souza Mah ‘A’) 4-3; Nandita Saha (NB) bt Sayantika Kundu (IA & AD) 4-0; T. Reeth Rishya (PSPB) bt Shika Jacob (Ker) 4-3.
Pallabi Kundu (RSPB) bt Garima Goyal (Del) 4-0; S. Narasimha Priya (TN) bt Divya Gohil (Guj) 11-4 (conceded); Nikhat Bhanu (AP) bt Mrunmayee Mahatre (Mah ‘B’) 4-1.