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An out of the world feeling for both of us: Somnath

April 27, 2022 05:55 pm | Updated 05:55 pm IST

Coach Somnath with Sreeja.
PHOTO:

Coach Somnath with Sreeja. PHOTO: | Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

V.V. SUBRAHMANYAM

HYDERABAD

Tighten the forearm and brush the ball before going for the top spin.

This is the new mantra of coach Somnath Ghosh which helped 23-year-old Akula Sreeja win her first senior National table tennis women’s singles title in Shillong last weekend.

Incidentally, it happens to be the first senior National women’s singles title from the united Andhra Pradesh and Telangana so far.

Somnath, a former National Games medallist, has been mentoring Sreeja since 2011 and said his trainee was far more mature and confident this time around.

“We worked really hard in the last three months to keep improving. Her fitness and skills in turn and attack after serve are the key to her success,” Somnath told The Hindu on Wednesday on return to the City.

“The first title is always special and that too because this National was totally different as three players, Sreeja, Reeth Rishya and Diya Chitale (whom Mouma beat in the pre-quarters and semifinals respectively) are all at the top in women’s singles and everyone is trying to book a place for the Commonwealth Games later this year,” Somnath said.

“It is an out of the world feeling for both of us.

“We hope Sreeja, sponsored by Lakshya Foundation, will be in the Indian team for the Commonwealth Games and win a medal,” said a delighted Somnath, who is the head coach of Somnath Ghosh UTT Academy, funded by Control S and Raheja.

“We are also grateful to the fitness trainer Hirak Bagchi and Telangana IT Minister K.T. Rama Rao for helping me to move over from Railways to Sports Authority of Telangana State on deputation as table tennis coach. Jayesh Ranjan (IAS), Sports Minister V. Srinivas Goud, Amarnath Reddy, Vita Dani of UTT and TTTA secretary Prakash Raju have all helped us in getting the kind of exposure we were looking for,” he said.

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