Road to Rio: Soumyajit Ghosh, the youngster with a big impact on Indian table tennis
Four years after the London Olympics, where he was the youngest Indian, table-tennis player Soumyajit Ghosh is a wiser, stronger and a better sportsman, ready to make his mark at world's biggest sporting event.
Name: Soumyajit Ghosh
Discipline: Table Tennis
Category: Men's Singles
Qualification: Topped his group at the Asian qualifiers in Hong Kong
Strengths: Soumyajit has worked well on his service and adjusted his game by standing closer to the table which, by his own admission, gives him an added advantage. It's a ploy used by the Chinese players and Soumyajit has adapted it well.
Past Olympic performance: Second round at 2012 London Olympics
Past record: Youngest national champion at the age of 19
Won gold at the World Championship in 2016
Won two gold, three silver and one bronze medal in Commonwealth Championships in 2013 and 2015
Rio Prospects: An improvement over his 2012 Olympics performance would be considered asatisfactory achievement for Soumyajit, as chances of a medal look bleak
When Soumyajit Ghosh first grabbed the attention of the Indian sporting world, he already had a piece of history to show off. Soumyajit had become the youngest Indian player to qualify for the 2012 Olympic games and was India's only entry in the men's category.
He had broken A Sharath Kamal’s decade old stranglehold over being the top-ranked Indian table tennis player, edged him out of the London Games and qualified for Rip ahead of the veteran shuttler.
But, Soumyajit, who had no big tournament experience back then, managed to win the first round in London, but fell at the second hurdle. His achievement though was already praiseworthy.
Four years down the lane, Soumyajit is a wiser, stronger and a better sportsman, ready to make his mark at world's biggest sporting event. Soumyajit who was born in a middle-class family in Siliguri joined the Siliguri Table Tennis academy at the age of five. He recalls how the Table Tennis Federation of India put faith in him at the age of 15, when he wasn't the best around and sent him to Sweden for three months. Since then Soumyajit has been continuously training in Sweden.
The 2016 Olympics will be another learning curve for the 61st ranked Indian paddler. He may not be able to conjure up a medal in Rio, but its certain that the 23-year-old paddler will leave Rio a better player. With age on his side, Soumyajit may go on to represent India at several future Olympics as well.
With inputs from agencies
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