SURAT: The 36th National Games will get under way here on Tuesday, with India’s top table tennis players stepping into the spotlight well before the grand Opening Ceremony on September 29.
Hosts Gujarat have left no stone unturned to not only offer the best Games ever to the country but are also hoping to pick up the first gold medal on Wednesday, with the dynamic duo of Harmeet Desai and Manav Thakkar leading the charge.
“Gujarat is already a big force in Indian table tennis,” former national champion Kamlesh Mehta said.
“With Harmeet, Manav and Manush Shah in their ranks, they are favourites to win the men’s title,” he added.
Stars Sharath Kamal, G Sathiyan and Manika Batra are among the favourites for the singles and doubles titles which are expected to throw up fascinating battles.
Players who are part of the Indian contingent for the World Championships later in the month will hope to get into their groove over the next five days.
The Gujarat Government has scheduled the TT competition ahead of the official start of the Games to ensure that they participate here as well as in the World Championships in China.
Apart from picking up the first few medals in TT, Gujarat will be hoping to improve on the ninth-place finish in the 35th edition in Kerala. They have strong medal prospects in swimming, tennis, volleyball, athletics, triathlon and wrestling.
“In the past, the states had several years to prepare for the Games. But Gujarat has undertaken the task of hosting these Games in a time window of three months thanks to the infrastructure built over the years,” Gujarat Sports Minister Harsh Sanghvi said while addressing students of the Veer Narmad South Gujarat University recently.
Gujarat’s top stars are excited to get a chance to compete in front of the home crowd and are confident of a strong showing.





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