Nikhat Banu and Shubam Sharma set to get a welcome exposure
Shubham Sharma and Nikhat Banu have been selected by the Table Tennis Federation of India (TTFI) to attend a month-long camp at the Petroleum Sports Control Board Academy at Ajmer, Rajasthan. The camp commences on April 1.
This not being the first time that they have been invited to undergo training under a foreign coach, appointed by the Sports Authority of India.
Over the years, the youngsters have been making a mark in the youth and junior sections at the national level. Nikhat is in standard IX at Kendriya Vidyalaya, Picket, where the encouragement she has received down the years from the Principal, Sudha Mani, to Physical Training teacher Muthiah Reddy and K.K. Reddy, has made her much more competitive. Being as industrious with her books as she is when tackling table tennis competition, ensures her class teacher Shammi is always supportive.
Ranked India’s No. 5 in the junior category and 25 among youth, Nikhat has age on her side.
The teenager has immense potential, an aggressive attitude at the table and is rarely affected by the stature of her opponent.
“Her end game needs a little improvement, for she sometimes tumbles to defeat from winning positions ,” said her coach M. Venugopal. Nikhat’s physical training and fitness has registered a marked rise thanks to support from Dr. Bhaktiar Choudhary, the sports medicine expert.
At the South Zone championships at Kochi, she reached the quarter-finals.
In the East Zone challenge at Patna, she lost to Esha Monga in the prequarter-finals.
She bowed out at a similar level in the Central zone championships at Gandhidham to Mallika Bhandarkar.
In the prize money tournament at Vadodara, she made the last four stage, losing to Pooja.
At Thane, in the west zone championships, she lost to Ankita Das in the last eight stage, while at New Delhi in the North zone event, she lost in the round of 16 to Anushree Hazra.A. JOSEPH ANTONY