Soumyajit to spearhead India’s campaign at India Open qualifiers

New Delhi, Feb 13 : Soumyajit Ghosh will spearhead the Indian campaign at the ITTF World Tour India Open qualifying rounds that get underway at the Thyagaraj Stadium here on Tuesday.

The former tiol champion will be vying along with 16 other Indians to get into the main draw of the $150,000 India Open, the highest prize money table tennis tourment in the country.

A number of world class players, including World No.5 Dimitrij Ovtcharov of Germany and World No.8 Vladimir Samsonov of Belarus will be seen in action in the men’s section.

Among the women, the Hong Kong duo of World No.14 Doo Hoi Kem and World No.19 Ching Lee Ho are the star attractions.

Soumyajit Ghosh, the World No.82, will launch his campaign against compatriot Jeet Chandra; he will take on Ali Alkhadrawi later in the day and will fancy his chances of lasting till the end of the weekend.

As many as 36 players will be aspiring for a place in the tourment proper. They have been divided into 10 groups, with the winners of each group sailing ahead.

The second-placed finishers will have to play and win one more match each to make it to the knockout stages. The 16th place, the last slot, will go to one lucky loser. Portugal’s Joao Geraldo, as the current World No. 74, is the top seed in the qualifying rounds. He will be up against the Indian duo of Arjun Ghosh and MavVikash.

India’s Sanil Shetty has been drawn in Group Four and will face-off against countryman RohitBhanja and Lub1omirJancarik of Czech Republic in his bid to enter the knock-out stages of tourment.

Anirban Ghosh is another Indian star who will be aiming to qualify for the knock-out stages. He is placed in Group Three but has the arduous task for overcoming third seeded Tianyl Jiang of Hong Kong in his first match.

He will then take on Saudi Arabia’s Abdulaziz Al-Abbad in his second match in this round.

Harmeet Desai has been drawn alongside fellow countryman Birdie Boro, TakutoIzumo and Tzu-Hsiang Hung of Chinese Taipei in Group Seven, while World No.84 Quentin Robinot of France will be up against Omer Avi-Tal of Pama and Anthony Amalraj and Utkarsh Gupta of India. IANS