Disappointed with Indian table tennis quartet's performance at Rio Olympics, says ex-national coach Kamlesh Mehta
Conceding that the performance of the Indian team in the Rio Olympics table tennis competition was not up to his expectations, former national coach Kamlesh Mehta today said it does not mean they should not have taken the flight to Brazil.
Mumbai: Conceding that the performance of the Indian team in the Rio Olympics table tennis competition was not up to his expectations, former national coach Kamlesh Mehta on Thursday said it does not mean they should not have taken the flight to Brazil.
"Yes, the players themselves know it was a disappointing show. We expected at least two of them (four in all) to enter the second round, but it did not happen," said Mehta on the sidelines of a press conference to announce the launch of a nation-wide inter-schools event on 29 August, the birthday of hockey wizard Dhyan Chand.
"But it cannot be said they should not have taken part (and avoid the humiliation)," added the former eight-time national singles champion and three-time Olympian.
Two men - Achanta Sharath Kamal and Soumyajit Ghosh - and women paddlers Mouma Das and new comer Manika Batra had qualified for the Olympic Games.
However, all of them came a cropper without winning a single match to make a tame exit.
Kamal and Ghosh lost to their respective rivals Adrian Crisan of Romania and Padasak Tanviriyavechakul of Thailand by an identical 1-4 margin while Mouma, in her second Olympics, was blanked 4-0 by Daniela Dodean of Romania.
While 34-year-old Chennai-born Kamal, who bagged the gold in the 2006 Commonwealth Games in Melbourne, took part in his third successive Games, it was the second for the Kolkata-born, 23-year-old Ghosh.
Manika lost 2-4 to Poland's Katarzyna Grzybowska.
Asked about the total domination of China in the ping pong game, Mehta said rules have been changed but they train so hard and so well that they remained on top.
"There have been so many rule changes. But they train very hard and remain as the top table tennis playing country," said Mehta.
As expected, China swept all four titles on offer - men's and women's singles and the two team championships.
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Yoshiro Mori, the head of the local organising committee and also a former prime minister, said Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga has a "strong commitment" to the Tokyo Olympics.
The 2020 Games were postponed in a historic decision earlier this year because of the coronavirus pandemic, and they are now set to open on 23 July, 2021.
Japan's borders are still largely closed to foreign visitors and a vaccine is months or even years away, feeding speculation about whether the Games are feasible at all.