Akula Sreeja of Hyderabad has the rare distinction of being the only paddler from the State to be selected to represent India in the South Asian Junior Table Tennis Championship to be held in Delhi from July 20 to 22.

The unassuming girl, who is a product of the Global Table Tennis Academy under the tutelage of State player Somnath Gosh, is delighted at the huge opportunity. “It is an honour to play for India in any event. And, with this event being held in Delhi, we should be more at ‘home’,” she says.

The young talent, widely perceived to be the future face of Indian table tennis in the women’s category with a strong backhand, is currently undergoing training at the on-going national camp in Lucknow. Fourteen-year-old Sreeja ranked India No. 3 in the sub-juniors category, has earned the right to represent the country with her consistency at the national level including six medals in the sub-junior, junior and youth national categories. She also played a big role in Andhra Pradesh clinching the gold in the team event in the Gandhidham sub-junior nationals recently.

A big fan of the more famous Poulomi Ghatak, Sreeja developed interest in the game watching her elder sister Ravali, who is also a paddler. The class X standard student of Rosary Convent School says that her immediate target is be a national champion.

Akula Sreeja to represent India in the South Asian Junior Table Tennis Championship to be held in Delhi from July 20 to 22