The Telegraph
Friday , January 10 , 2014
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Paddlers hit top spins with movies & books

- Hobbies differ yet meditation before matches string together table tennis players

Tom and Jerry to Steve Jobs, Krrish 3 to Dhoom:3 — the choice for a perfect leisure is aplenty for ace national-level table tennis players.

While some of them are glued to books, others enjoy travelling to unwind themselves from their busy schedule across the country and abroad.

Off the table, Achanta Sharath Kamal of Tamil Nadu just wants to browse cartoon channels to find Tom and Jerry fighting either for the woollen ball or the bowl of cheese or bones. Kamal, besides looking at the cat and mouse show, has a penchant for reading. Taking time out from the gruelling practice sessions, he even finished off a biography of Apple founder Steve Jobs just a few days before the national tourney.

The ace paddler, representing Petroleum Sports Promotion Board (PSPB), which won both the team events (men and women) of 75th Senior National Table Tennis Championship at Patliputra Sports Complex here on Thursday, also seeks a good night’s sleep before any important game.

Sanil Shetty, another PSPB player ranked third nationally, loves doodles and sketches during his spare time. Shetty said: “I also love watching action movies, as recently I went for a show of Krrish 3, but my biggest hobby is drawing and making sketches.”

K. Shamini, also the No. 3 in the women’s national ranking, during her leisure prefers reading motivational books. Like Kamal and Shetty, Shamini’s hobby is also coin collection. She said: “I have been collecting coins since years.”

However, her fellow paddler from Bengal Soumyadeep Roy is a serious movie buff who hardly misses any film. Roy said: “Language does not matter as I love watching all types of movies — English, Hindi and Bengali.”

Soumyadeep has recently watched Aamir Khan-starrer Dhoom:3. For Roy, married to ace table tennis player Poulomi Ghatak, his hobby is travelling. However, when there is any important match, he focuses on the game and prefers rest with meditation in the morning.

At a time when cricketers use their leisure watching and learning different shots, there are some paddlers who too follow the same. National champion Soumyajit Ghosh, during his leisure, follows tricks of serves and volleys watching international players on video streaming websites.

During the finals, many players are seen sitting silently meditating before the matches. A tournament official, on condition of anonymity, said: “Meditation is the best-known practice known to be followed by many players. The players also focus on their weak points that they will avoid while playing the match.”

get your facts right

Petroleum Sports Promotion Board player Soumyajit Ghosh stretches before a match at the Patliputra Sports Complex in Patna on Thursday. Picture by Ranjeet Kumar Dey

Paddler point

Table tennis racquets are known as “paddle” in US. At least 85% of a paddle’s blade should beof natural wood. Table tennis players are known as paddlers

Ping-pong parlance

Table tennis is also known as ping-pong for the sound generated by the ball’s movement

Ping-pong diplomacy

During the heydays of Cultural Revolution (1966-76) in China, table tennis played a key role with exchange of players between the communist country and the US. In April 1971, a US table tennis team visited China on invitation, paving way for a diplomatic relationship. President Richard Nixon’s national security adviser Henry Kissinger secretly visited Beijing in July 1971 — seven months before the President was to tour China marking a major shift during the Cold War period. Ending the 25-year enmity, the US and China became “friends” to train guns against USSR

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