The star paddlers will be the cynosure of all eyes in the initial phase of the National Games 2022 which commences with the table tennis event in Surat on September 20.
Gujarat’s Harmeet Desai, Manav Thakkar and Manush Shah, however, will hope to steal the show in the first two days, with the hosts being given pride of place in the men’s team event.
The golden trio of Indian table tennis – Sharath, Sathiyan and Manika – will enter the arena only on Thursday as their teams haven’t qualified for the National Games 2022. They will begin as the favorites for individual titles.
Gujarat, Maharashtra top seeds in team event at National Games 2022
Gujarat, along with Delhi (seeded fourth), Haryana and Telangana form Group A while second-seeded Maharashtra, West Bengal, Uttar Pradesh and Karnataka form Group B.
Speaking about Gujarat’s chances, Harmeet Desai said there is a lot of work to be done to live up to the top billing.
“On paper, we have a very strong team but we need to live up to the seedings, especially as there are some very good teams. This is also the first time that Manav Thakkar, Manush Shah and I will be playing together. Both are in good form and we can work out our combinations on the given day,” he said in an interaction with the media.
Among the women, Maharashtra, boasting of Reeth Rishya, Diya Chitale and Shruti Amrute, have been seeded first. They will battle it out with third seeds Telangana, hosts Gujarat and Haryana in Group A. Second-seeded West Bengal, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Uttar Pradesh are in Group B.
Apart from picking up the first few medals in table tennis, Gujarat will be hoping to improve on their ninth-place finish from the 35th edition in Kerala. They have strong medal prospects in swimming, tennis, volleyball, athletics, triathlon and wrestling and will hope to have a memorable Games.