London dreams of Indian paddlers shattered

Doha, May 12: The London dreams of Indian paddlers Achanta Sharath Kamal, Athony Amalraj and Poulomi Ghatak lay shattered after they failed to move into the round of 16 at the World Olympic Qualification Championships here.

Only two Indians – Soumyajit Ghosh and Ankita Das – will be seen in action at the London olympics later this year as they qualified from the continental quotas after they became the highest-ranked players in the South Asia region.

Despite reaching the main draw Friday, the three Indian paddlers lost to their opponents convincingly and will now fight for places 17-20.

There are 16 players in fray for the four slots and it will be interesting to know where the Indians finish.

It was a bad day at office for the Indians as first Amalraj tasted defeat against Matis Burgis of Latvia in straight games.

Burgis won 11-4, 11-7, 11-8, 11-6 and 45 minutes later, Yang Wang of Slovakia’s defensive tactics brooked no challenge from Achanta Sharath Kamal. The Slovak won 12-10, 11-7, 10-12, 11-5, 11-7.

With only pride to play for, Amalraj will take on Britain’s Liam Pitchford while Sharath Kamal will meet Sas lasan.

In a late match Friday night Ghatak lost to Taipei’s Chia-Hui Lin 2-4 (9-11, 8-11, 12-10, 11-6, 8-11, 4-11) to be pushed out of top ladder. She will later play against Barbora Balazova for positions 17-20.

Coach Bhawani Mukherjee admitted that it was unfortunate that the paddlers could not live their dreams.

‘Sharath had a good chance against the Slovak. But things didn’t work his way,’ he said.