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Players pitch for Kamlesh return
- Sourav Chakraborty fashions East’s revenge in men’s final l TTFI plans long-term training programme

Calcutta: The top Indian paddlers have made a joint petition to the Table Tennis Federation of India (TTFI) to bring back former national champion Kamlesh Mehta as their coach. He was with the Indian team till the tour of China in June this year. But his contract was not renewed for the Commonwealth Games and thereafter.

Talking to The Telegraph, India’s No. 1 player Soumyadeep Roy said on Monday: “Kamlesh had some problem with the contract, but we have asked the authorities to renew it.”

Soumyadeep also added that the Indian players need a foreign coach who can work with the team on a long-term basis. “If we have to make an impression in the international arena, a foreign coach is necessary,” he said.

Meanwhile, the TTFI authorities informed that a Belarussian would soon be engaged as the chief coach of the national team.

Soumyadeep informed that a long-term training programme for the top Indian players has been planned by the TTFI. “It will basically be a four-year programme where all the top players will stay together and undergo similar training facilities. This is a pattern followed by the top nations and I’m sure it’ll bear fruit.”

The national champion went on to add that he is currently aiming at the National Games and the senior nationals.

However, Bengal Table Tennis Association’s plan to have Soumyadeep for Bengal in the National Games has fallen through as the player himself put an end to it.

“I practise at the academy in Ajmer and the Rajasthan authorities have already requested me to play for them. So, I won’t be able to turn up for Bengal,” he said.

The other players who will be called by BTTA for the Games are Arup Basak, Arjun Dutta, Shibaji Dutta, Sourav Chakraborty, Ranabir Das, Shubham Chowdhury (men) and Poulami Ghatak, Mouma Das, Sushmita Roy, Mantu Ghosh and Anindita Chakraborty (women).

Chinese coach for SAI

The TTFI will bring in a Chinese coach for the SAI Centre for Excellence in Calcutta in place of Kim Chang-ho, the North Korean coach. Though the TTFI authorities didn’t divulge his name, it was learnt that he was attached to the Chinese senior team.

“We are waiting for the government clearance on this issue ,” a senior TTFI official informed.

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