Faridabad: Peter Karlsson has been working with Indian paddlers for some time now. It is at the academy of the five-time world champion that Soumyajit Ghosh honed his skills for two years. Ankita Das, too, trained for a short duration.
The two teenagers have qualified for the Olympics and Karlsson feels that it augurs well for the future of table tennis in the country.
The Swede, who was here for a three-day coaching clinic for the Manav Rachna Sports Academy, said the two players have it in them to register a few upsets in London.
“It is absolutely fantastic that two young Indian players will compete at the Olympics. They deserved their places. They have not been picked, they have qualified. They have a lot more potential and if they continue to work hard they will achieve more success.” “ They can surprise a few at the Olympics, but if that does not happen there is no reason to feel disappointed.”
Soumyajit and Ankita left senior players like Sharath Kamal, Anthony Amalraj, Poulomi Ghatak and Mouma Das in the shade as they booked their berths for the London Games.
Karlsson has guided Ghosh for most of the last two years as part of an ITTF scholarship programme.
“He is a talented player. At the moment, Ghosh’s game is dominated by his tactical and mental ability. He needs to improve on the technical aspect and also physically.” Ankita was also selected for the scholarship, but she could not go, though she attended short-term coaching clinics under Karlsson.
“The two players are just 19 and they have a bright future. It is definitely not their peak. As I can see, playing the Olympics at young age can only be positive. Olympics is totally different. They cannot imagine how it will be. When an athlete is competing at his first Olympics at his peak, maybe it’s not so good. But when you compete at a young age, you collect experience. They may have at least two, may be three, more Olympics in their career.”
The Swede was a World Champion in men’s doubles in 1991 and also helped his team win on four other occasions.
“There is a risk that being part of a big event can lead to emptiness thinking that they have achieved something big. But I don’t see that happening with Ghosh. He is an intelligent boy.” Karlsson said that he will have a chat with Ghosh.
“He should not be satisfied with what he has done. You can be happy and proud. But don’t stop working.”
Karlsson said that though Sharath Kamal has not qualified, he is an inspiration for the youngsters.
“What Sharath has done is extremely good. The way he has performed over the years is great. I often tell the young Indian players that Sharath has shown what you can achieve. They need to respect and admire him for what he has done.”
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