New Delhi: Exprienced paddler Achanta Sharath Kamal and Soumyajit Ghosh will spearhead India's challenge in the men's section while Manika Batra and Mouma Das will lead the hosts in the women's category at the Indian Open, in New Delhi next month.
Seeded 11th, Sharath is India's most prolific table tennis player, having won multiple titles at the international level while Soumyajit is considered as the future of Indian table tennis having already represented the country in two consecutive Olympics.
The Indian charge in the women's category will be led by 21-year-old Manika along side experienced Mouma in the $20,000 tournament, which is a part of The Seamaster 2017 ITTF World Tour.
Besides the Indians, the field will be led by two top 10 players, world no 6 Dmitrij Ovtcharov of Germany and world no 8 Vladimir Samsonov of Belarus.
The women's challenge will be spearheaded by the Hongkong duo of world no 14 Doo Hoi Kem and world no 19 Ching Lee Ho.
The India Open is part of the elite Seamaster 2017 ITTF World Tour, with only 11 other countries hosting the events.
Apart from Hungary that has already hosted the first leg in January, Qatar (23-26 February), Japan (16-18 June), Korea (20-23 April); China (22-25 June); Australia (29June-2 July); Czech Republic (24-27 August); Austria (1-3 September); Bulgaria (7-10 September); Germany (10-12 November) and Sweden (16-19 November) will host the events.
Germany's Ovtcharov, the 2012 Olympic bronze medallist and winner of team bronze at the 2016 Rio Olympics, will be the top seed and is expected to be the firm favourite.
The 28-year-old is a seasoned campaigner, having won eight European Championship gold medals, including six in team events.
He is, however, likely to face stiff competition from Samsonov of Belarus, easily the most experienced and accomplished player on the roster.
Samsonov went all the way to the quarterfinals in the recently concluded Hungarian Open, underlining the fact that he is still a force to reckon with even at the age of 40.
Among other exciting players to watch out for are Japanese duo - world no 16 Koki Niwa, world no 21 Yuto Muramatsu and United Kingdom's world no 40 Paul Drinkhall.
Another interesting player in the fray is world no 64 Harimoto Tomakazu of Japan.
Hong Kong duo of Doo Hoi Kem and Ching Lee Ho will lead the competition in the women's section.
In the men's doubles event, Japanese duo of Masataka Morizono and Yuya Oshima will start as top seeds, followed by German pair of Ruwen Filus and Ricardo Walther and Robert Gardos of Austria and Lubomir Jancarik of Czech Republic.
India's fight will be led by the team of Amalraj Anthony and Sathiyan Gnanasekaran and Sanil Shetty and Sharath Kamal.
In the women's doubles, Hong Kong pair of Hoi Kem and Ching Lee will start as top seeds, while Sweden's Matilda Ekholm and Hungary's Georgina Pota have been seeded second.
Four teams will represent India in women's doubles with Manika Batra and Mouma Das teaming up to lead the campaign.
Updated Date: Feb 15, 2017 11:32 AM