J .R. SHRIDHARAN
She started to play from Std. II.She is a 10-year-old girl with oodles of energy. K. Spoorthi, a Std. V student of V.P. Siddhartha Public School, has already drawn the attention of administrators of the Andhra Pradesh Table Tennis Association (APTTA) with her performance at the sub-junior national championship held at Alleppey (Kerala) in December 2006. APTTA think-tank's decision to include Spoorthi in the sub-junior team paid rich dividends, as the young girl played a crucial role in winning the title for Andhra Pradesh. "Usually, players in the age group of 10 play the cadet segment. But we took a gamble to expose Spoorthi to a bigger challenge and she delivered the goods," said APTTA joint secretary P. Viswanath. Incidentally, Spoorthi went on to become the youngest player in the country to play the sub-junior segment, which is meant for the under-14 category. This young paddler spends a couple of hours every day to hone her skills under the watchful eyes of her coach Anil Kumar at the IGMC Stadium. "She started playing when she was in Std. II. She is an aggressive player and is good at forehand, backhand and topspin drives. Her height is a disadvantage now. But when she gets taller, things will be different," feels Mr. Anil Kumar.In the State championship held at Nalgonda, Spoorthi clashed with Nikhit Banu, the AP women's champion and lost, but not before waging a valiant battle.