Commonwealth Games 2018: How Rampant Indian Paddlers Are Creating History And Set A New Benchmark In The Gold Coast: Hello, Everyone Today I am going to share some exciting facts on the Commonwealth Games 2018 How rampant Indian paddlers are creating history and set a new benchmark in the Gold Coast.
Commonwealth Games 2018: How Rampant Indian Paddlers Are Creating History And Set A New Benchmark In The Gold Coast
I am quite sure and positive that we will match the year 2010 Commonwealth Games in a tally.
The 2018 Commonwealth Games, all the talk was centering around whether Indian paddlers can match the year 2010 Delhi Games tally of the five medals. Sharath Kamal, who is leading the contingent, is positive that India is.
The time the Gold Coast Games finished, the Indian paddlers, with their eight medals, had to surpass the Delhi Games tally by a comfortable margin. They have won at least one medal in each of the seven categories.
Records were broken, and history was scripting. Three golds in Common Wealth Games 2018 are the most for India in table tennis at any Games. There were many firsts. It is the first time the women’s team clinched gold.
It was the first time India won a medal in women’s singles at the Games, Manika Batra made it special with gold. It is the first time that India wins a medal in mixed doubles Manika Batra-Sathiyan Gnanasekaran beating Sharath Kamal Mouma Das to winning bronze in an all-Indian affair.
Batra’s four medals Women’s team gold, women’s singles gold, women’s doubles silver, mixed doubles bronze were most by an Indian in Gold Coast.
The paddlers’ performance in Gold Coast gave a good account of the giant strides Indians have taken in the world of table tennis. The success, however, hasn’t come overnight.
Things got derailing in Glasgow due to a host of reasons which included lack of funding due to scandals and scams, unclear vision and lack of continuity in coaching.
However, things are back on track in the last couple of years. Post the Olympics debacle, the Table Tennis Federation of India reappointed Massimo Costantini, who is helping India bag five medals in the year 2010 Delhi Games, the head coach. The strategic planning has begun since.
“It is meticulous planning,” Sathiyan explaining reason behind India’s stellar performance. “The previous Games do not go well, so we planning it even better.
We working very hard. It was not only the games, but we were looking to get better as players, train abroad. Everyone had their individual goals also for the games, and it is working very well as a team.”
The planning involved participation in many Pro Tours, training camps and this wouldn’t have been possible without the support of Sports Authority of India.
“SAI is pumping in more money in the table tennis which planning and administrating very well by the Table Tennis Federation of India,” Sharath told Firstpost.
“And apart from that a lot of players have support from their cities and regional sporting bodies. So basically it is because we have money to invest in sport.
“It is all about the money going in the right direction. Many times you can get a lot of money but then if you don’t use it in the right direction, then you won’t have maximum utilization.”
Over the last year, the Pro Tour and international participation have become quite high. Competing against top players has to improve players’ skills. One of the chief architects of planning and its success has Costantini.
After rejoining, Costantini’s primary task was to instill belief into the system, and next step was to dream big.
“I believe the reason for the impressive performances is thinking big, thinking something unthinkable, a result that no one can have imagined at the eve of the competition,” Constantini told Firstpost.
“This was my motivation and the work done in these 18 months was targeted only for that. That is requesting more financial support; international exposures are training camp up to 50 players, more coaches and so on. To thinking big to act.
Italian focusing on team spirit, bonding and communication in the 16-day Portugal camp preceding the Games, in February. He is also performing the dual role of pressure soaking wall that shutting players from the world.
“Massimo sir is like an umbrella, he protects us from any negative effects,” India player Mouma Das telling Firstpost. He knows and where to put players, and in any situation, no external power or any negative control can force him to change his decisions because he is extremely tough to break.”
The players spent a lot of time with each other before the games and developed a good rapport on and off the court.
“The difference from the last time is that in the year 2014, we were all training at different places. So we never had that strong bonding. But we learned the lesson this time,” says Sanil Shetty.
The Portugal camp is also allowing Costantini to experiment with the different doubles and mixed doubles pair which is crucial with regards to the strategic planning requiring for the team.
India was winning a medal for the first time in mixed doubles with the Sathiyan-Manika pair clinching bronze in an all-India affair.
The Manika-Mouma pair won women’s doubles silver, Sharath-Sathiyan won men’s doubles silver while Harmeet Desai-Sanil Shetty won men’s doubles bronze.
“We practiced a lot of doubles and mixed doubles in the training camp,” Sharath explains. “Without practice, doubles are very difficult in play.
You need to have coordination; you need to understand your partner. You need to know what they would do when its close and during pressure situations. We get to know each other well in the camp, and that helps.”
Post the Portugal camp, the players spent three weeks together in Qatar, Poland, and Germany during Pro Tours and the contingent reached Gold Coast six days before to get acclimatizing to conditions.
A positive start was the key, something which was missing in the last edition, and it was provided by the Indian women’s team as they are clinching historic gold on Singapore. It set the tone for the campaign.
“Once the girls won the gold medal, a lot of things changing. That is the turning point in our campaign,” Sharath recalling. “There was a little bit of pressure but more of a motivation.
From there, everything became positive. Because last time in the year 2014, both the men’s and women’s teams finished fourth and then everything became negative.
We did not get a medal, so people started expecting that ‘medal has to come.’ So it is adding more pressure. Here in Gold Coast also it adds more pressure but in a positive way because the expectations became high.
Oh, two gold medals, so we are expecting some more golds now,’ so I say they should go to the jewelry shop and buy them,” quipped typical veteran.
It is an easy start to the campaign. Loss of Soumyajit Ghosh, who is provisionally suspending the TTFI following rape charges against him, at the last moment was a huge one.
It is a crucial part of the doubles and mixed doubles plans. Absence did not affect team dynamics but players too, but the team hit resetting button.
Harmeet has a new doubles partner in Sanil. The two, who are also good friends off the court, forming a cohesive bond in short time and went on to win the bronze.
All through this, Sharath the ‘big brother’ is playing the decisive role.
“When he is there in the team, you feel confident that you have such a legendary player and he’s been helping us throughout, giving us all the guidance,” said Sathiyan.
Just like Costantini off the court, Sharath playing the role of pressure-soaker on it.
“I tell myself I have to do my job. When I do my job, the pressure eases down,” says Sharath. “I cannot pass the pressure down. When I do my job, the team’s level automatically going higher.
That is what I did against Singapore especially. I am happy to have done that. I sanded up to all the challenges and motivating youngsters.”
It was a combination of these factors that clicked in unison. All the talk was about matching Delhi heroics, the Indian paddlers went one step ahead and set a new benchmark in Gold Coast. The fact that they did it away from home made the success even sweeter.
“In 2010 we have one gold, but now we have three. So it is like we have done and dusted 2010. Now it is like Arey, who Kuch Nahi that. Sharath says.
“Now our benchmark is so high that even for us to repeating it, I don’t know how it will be next time,” joking Sharath.
It will be a bigger challenge in next time. However, it is a continuous learning process, and the success in Gold Coast has shown that Indian paddlers are not intimidating by anyone in the world.
“The resonance of these results will be spreading in every corner of the country,” Costantini says. “Our players are heroes; many kids would want to play table tennis and become someone like a Sharath or a Manika.”
With World Championships coming up in a few days’ time, the Indian paddlers will be back on the road, to achieve greater heights. But for now, it is time to revel in the success and enjoy a rare time off with family and friends.
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