The ten-member Indian team, comprising five men and five women, will look to continue punching above its weight and create a few upsets in the 2019 ITTF-ATTU Asian Table Tennis Championships that begins in Yogyakarta, Indonesia, from Sunday.
The team, accompanied by coach Arup Basak, had a 10-day preparatory camp at Chengdu, China, before reaching Indonesia on Saturday. They will be joined by foreign expert, Brett W Clarke, who left from New Delhi, on Friday.
The continental championship is the first event in which the winning teams in men and women competitions would seal their 2020 Olympic Games berths.
But it will, nevertheless, provide the Indian paddlers with the chance to assess themselves in the company of other top contenders like Japan, Korea, Taipei and Singapore.
The Indian squad, led by the experienced Achanta Sharath Kamal [world No 41] and the top-ranked Indian in the world, G Sathiyan, will look to gain in experience and skills which they can use in the later events to clinch an Olympic berth for the men’s team.
Even otherwise, the Asian event gives the individual players, especially the likes of Harmeet Desai and Manav Thakkar, to opportunity assess their strengths and weakness while competing against the best in the business during the eight-day event which concludes on September 22.
As for the women’s squad, it would have done its bit if the team manages to finish among the top-eight from the continent.
Men: Manav Thakkar, Anthony Amalraj, G. Sathiyan, Harmeet Desai and Achanta Sharath Kamal.
Women: Sutirtha Mukherjee, Madhurika Patkar, Ayhika Mukherjee, Manika Batra and Archana Kamath.
Coaches: Arup Basak and Brett W Clarke.
Support staff: Amarjit Singh and Hirak Bagchi.