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Sailu enters big league

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Sports Despite immense talent, dearth of nutritious diet is playing spoilsport for Sailu Noor Basha

Bespectacled Sailu Noor Basha is just 15 summers old and she has already entered the big league by winning her maiden women’s crown at the Andhra Pradesh State table tennis championship that concluded at Anantapur recently.

This Class X student of Bishop Hazaraiah High School defeated junior international player A. Sreeja 4-3 in the finals and went on to prove that she has the wherewithal to make it big in Indian table tennis. Sailu’s father Khasim is a grounds man with the Krishna District Cricket Association at IGMC Stadium and he is proud of his daughter’s achievement. “I want her to accomplish more laurels by working harder.”

Her coach V. Damodar Reddy says: “Sailu is an attacking player and likes to play longer rallies. Eighty per cent of the rallies culminate in her favour as she takes control of it (the rally) right from the start. She is a shrewd player with a heart to learn”. Andhra Pradesh Table Tennis Association secretary S.M. Sultan cannot stop praising the girl for who is the third player from Andhra region to emerge as senior women champion after Bhanusree and K. Spoorthi.

“She has defeated international paddlers like Naina and Sreeja who are regulars with Indian team. It is no mean achievement. She is now knocking the doors of the Indian team with her consistent performance”. Sailu is among top 16 in the country’s sub junior category and she won team gold medal cadet and sub junior national in 2010. She was also part of the Andhra Pradesh teams –senior, junior and youth – several times which enabled her to get the much-needed exposure.

The girl could take part in three sub-junior ranking tournaments held at Thane, Gandhidham and Siligiri thanks to the financial assistance given by the Andhra Cricket Association secretary Gokaraju Ganga Raju. While everything appears hunky dory on the technical front, Sailu is trailing behind in fitness aspect. Lack of stamina for the long overhauls could play spoilsport.

Since she comes from a poor economic background, a nutritious diet is a luxury her parents cannot afford. The need of the hour is financial help and constant

monitoring of her diet. Sailu also needs to upgrade her playing gear regularly to enhance her performance. “For at least once in two months we need to change the rubbers on both sides. We also need to change the wood every year to acquire more speed,” says Damodar. Sultan has grand plans for Sailu as he is contemplating sending the girl to China for an advanced three-week training stint. “There is a provision by International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF) to help paddlers train at China. She will transform into a better player once she finishes her training”, he says confidently

J.R. Shridharan

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