Table Tennis players eager to break the duck

New Delhi: Having registered their best ever show at the Commonwealth Games during this year’s edition in Gold Coast, the Indian table tennis players carried a lot of expectations on their shoulders going into the 18th Asian Games.

India coach Massimo Costantini is hopeful that his wards will break the duck in Jakarta this time. The Indian paddlers haven’t won a medal at the Asian Games since its introduction in 1958.

The CWG success, where they swept the men’s and women’s team events, and the performance at the World Team Championships, where the Indian men’s team finished 13th — their best since 1987 — and the women 17th, was the major moral booster for the Indians.

“Winning medal at the Asiad is super challenging but I would say that now I am more confident comparing eight years back where we knew that medals were out of our reach. Now India have created so many international upset and this will count in succeed in something which has never happened at the Asiad,” Costantini told this paper on Saturday.

“One of my tasks is to keep the players humble and greedy to win. Anyway I believe pressure should not belong to us, Manika will start as seed No. 15 seed, Sharath is 10th and G. Sathiyan is seeded 11 so they have nothing to lose, if we are able to perform our abilities I think we have chance to create something important,” he added.

Sathiyan said the team had an excellent preparation. “A medal in team event is definitely possible if we get a good draw. We always reach quarter-finals.”

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