WTT Star Contender boosts Paris 2024 qualification hopes of Indian paddlers

February 1, 2024
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The recently concluded World Table Tennis (WTT) Star Contender Goa not only recorded historic Indian participation for a WTT event with country's 43 paddler competing but also bolstered their qualification chances for the 2024

New Delhi, Feb 1 ( IANS) The recently concluded World Table Tennis (WTT) Star Contender Goa not only recorded historic Indian participation for a WTT event with country’s 43 paddler competing but also bolstered their qualification chances for the 2024 Paris Olympic Games as they racked up some valuable rankings points with performances.

The tournament also witnessed the global table tennis stars ascending at Mapusa’s Peddem Indoor Stadium with the French teenage sensation World No. 6 Felix Lebrun and Tokyo Olympics bronze medallist Cheng I-Ching lifting the men’s and women’s singles titles respectively.

The 25-year-old Hyderabad paddler Sreeja was the standout performer for India in the tournament as she concluded her campaign in the singles quarterfinals which saw her climbing up 38 spots to secure a career-best world rankings.

“WTT Star Contender Goa 2024 was a game-changer for me, it came at the right time and everything went well for me considering this is an Olympics year. I thank the organisers, my coach, physio and fans for their support. Playing in the home country is always a good feeling because we are used to playing in this environment and climatic conditions. It takes time to adapt to the conditions when you play in other countries. Thus, it was good for Indian players to play in India. This performance will also boost my confidence going forward,” Sreeja commented.

With the current world rankings of 36 and 51 respectively, Manika Batra and Sreeja have now strengthened their chances for the Paris Olympics qualification.

The prestigious tournament also witnessed five Indian pairs making it to the quarter-finals across categories which is a rarity in a WTT Star Contender event.

WTT Star Contender Goa is India’s biggest international table tennis tournament which is co-hosted by Stupa Sports Analytics and Ultimate Table Tennis under the guidance of the Table Tennis Federation of India (TTFI).

“This year’s tournament was more important for our Indian players considering the upcoming Paris Olympics and I was delighted to see players like Sreeja Akula, Manika Batra taking advantage of the home support and collecting crucial ranking points,” said Deepak Malik, tournament director and COO and Co-Founder of Stupa Sports Analytics.

“It’s heartening to see Indians doing well at this tournament as we aim to provide them much-needed international platform and exposure through this event. As many as 18 Indian paddlers made WTT Star Contender debut which is a huge boost for Indian table tennis.

“With the participation of top international players and intense competition, it also gave Indians much-needed momentum ahead of the crucial World Team Table Tennis Championships. I wish them best luck,” Malik added.

Following WTT Star Contender Goa 2024, the focus now shifts to World Team Table Tennis Championships, scheduled from February 16 to 25, where Top-8 teams will confirm their places in the Paris Olympics.

–IANS

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