Indian table tennis stars Sharath Kamal and G Sathiyan (Tamil Nadu) and Manika Batra (Delhi), will be the star attractions in the initial phase of the 36th National Games, getting underway in Gujarat on Tuesday.

Local paddlers Harmeet Desai, Manav Thakkar and Manush Shah, however, will hope to steal the show on the first two days, with hosts Gujarat being given the pride of place in the men’s team event as the top seeds.

The golden trio of Indian table tennis – Sharath, Sathiyan and Manika – will enter the arena only on Thursday as their teams hadn’t qualified for the Games. They will begin as favourites for the individual titles.

“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,” Gujarat captain Harmeet Desai said.

“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 added during a press conference on the eve of the competition.

One of India’s all-time great table tennis players, Kamlesh Mehta has said the Gujarat men’s Table Tennis team would be favourite to win gold.

“Gujarat is already a big force in Indian table tennis,” said the Mumbai-born legend, who won the National crown eight times and competed for India in two Olympic Games, seven World and eight Asian championships, and two Asian Games. “The three players are very good. They have done very well in the last season, and can win medals in singles and doubles also. “

Gujarat, who are with fourth seed Delhi, Haryana and Telangana in Group A, will fancy their chances, especially as Tamil Nadu are not in the fray. Second-seeded Maharashtra, West Bengal, Uttar Pradesh and Karnataka are in Group B.

Among 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 TT, Gujarat will be hoping to improve on their ninth-place finish in the 35th edition in Kerala. They have strong medal prospects in swimming, tennis, volleyball, athletics, triathlon and wrestling.

TT team seeding:

Men: 1. Gujarat, 2. Maharashtra, 3. West Bengal, 4. Delhi.

Women: 1. Maharashtra, 2. West Bengal, 3. Telangana, 4. Karnataka.

TT team Groups:


Group A: Gujarat, Delhi, Haryana, Telangana.

Group B: Maharashtra, West Bengal, Uttar Pradesh, Karnataka.


Group A: Maharashtra, Telangana, Gujarat, Haryana,

Group B: West Bengal, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Uttar Pradesh.