Lesser tournaments have hurt my chances of going to Olympics: Desai

NEW DELHI: Lack of tournaments due to Covid-19 has hurt the chances of Indian male table tennis players apart from Sharath Kamal and Sathiyan Gnanasekaran to make it to the Tokyo Olympics, according to national champion Harmeet Desai. Desai, 27, was in great form as he finished in the last four at the Oman Open just before the coronavirus outbreak.
“We have a strong team, so it will be very difficult for me to get ahead of the top two. Sharath and Sathiyan are really strong players,” said Desai while talking on Indian paddler Mudit Dani’s online live chat show ‘In The Sportlight’. “It would have been much better for me if I could have got a chance to play more international tournaments in this period because I didn’t have the pressure of defending any of the points, I only had the chance to gain points after my performance at the Oman Open. It’s sad that the chance is gone and I am in all likelihood missing the bus this time.”
India missed out a chance to secure an Olympics berth via the team event at the last world qualifiers. As per existing Olympic qualification norms, only two Indian male paddlers can qualify for the Tokyo Games in the singles category. Sharath and Sathiyan are placed 31 and 32 respectively while Desai is currently ranked 72 in the world. “Even though it will be difficult for me to qualify, I still hope to make it. And if not this time, I will work harder for 2024,” Desai, who was part of the team that won gold at the 2018 Commonwealth Games, added.

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