West Bengal university students are aiming to continue their state's table tennis legacy when they take on the other competitors in the Khelo India University Games in Odisha starting February 22. They will have to fight it out against Delhi, Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu in the tournament.
India has seen a host of table tennis players rising from the state of West Bengal. Athletes such as Subhajit Saha, Mouma Das and Poulomi Ghatak have brought many laurels to the country. However, it's time for some more young players from West Bengal to make a mark in the sport and therefore the university paddlers in the state are looking forward to showcasing their skills at the Khelo India University Games (KIUG).
After successfully conducting three editions of the Khelo India Youth Games, the Sports Ministry is looking to unearth more talent at the university level through the Khelo India University Games. The tournament will be held in Odisha from 22 February to 1 March 2020.
"There are a lot of table tennis players rising in West Bengal because of the support we receive from our parents and coaches and of course because of the enthusiasm for the sport," said Shreyasi Hazra, who will represent the University of Calcutta at KIUG.
Hazra added that the University of Calcutta will field the best side in the girls' table tennis competition at the Khelo India University Games.
"I think we will have the best team among all universities at the Khelo India University Games. But I think the University of Mumbai will be a tough competitor for us. I will be taking part in the singles competition," said Hazra.
Sudarshana Patra from Jadavpur University explained further why table tennis is such a big sport in West Bengal.
"People in West Bengal practice table tennis a lot and love the sport very much. The state has attained a certain amount of success in the sport as well. In the East Zone university table tennis competition, all four teams in the semi-finals were from West Bengal," said Patra.
Patra believes that the players from Delhi, Maharashtra and Chennai will pose tough competition at the Khelo India University Games.
"The table tennis players from Delhi, Maharashtra and Chennai will be the ones to look out for at the Khelo India University Games. Our preparations are going on great. Our university has provided us with all the equipment and coaches for our training," said the 18-year-old.
Moumita Pal from Burdwan University expressed that the University of Mumbai side will be the one to beat at the Khelo India University Games since they won the All India University competition.
"The Mumbai University were the champions in All India University girls' table tennis competition so they will be the side to beat at the Khelo India University Games. It's the first time that this competition will be held but I feel that it will be a good platform to showcase our talent," said Pal.
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