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Sharath-Sathiyan clash on the cards

Coimbatore, Aug 4. Only the other day A. Sharath Kamal jumped ten spots to overtake G. Sathiyan in the latest ITTF rankings list. But will he do the same when they get to meet each other in the AAI 48th all India inter-institutional table tennis championship at the Bharathiar University Indoor Hall here.

The top seed position accorded to Manav Thakkar in the men’s singles event has created this peculiar situation. The two-top ranked Indians in the world are expected to get past their opponents with ease and, with it, set up a quarterfinal clash.

As per the open draw policy adopted by the competition department of the TTFI for more than two seasons now, the clash of two titans in the quarterfinal was inevitable.

Sharath had participated in the season opener – North Zone at Panchkula – and is seeded No.5 here but Sathiyan, who had not taken part in a domestic event this season, is seeded 16. And that has put them in the same quarter of the main draw.

An early exit of one of the stars may well take the shine off the championship as they are the likely finalists. But this has sent a strong message to all players to take the domestic programme seriously.

In fact, a decision to give more weightage to domestic ranking points than the world rankings was taken at the Executive Board meeting of TTFI at Panchkula last month.

Meanwhile, in men singles 86 qualifiers were identified from 43 groups and the draw will be of 128 with a good spread of byes. However, out of the 60 paddlers who made the cut from 30 groups four will bow out in the preliminary round as their main draw will be of 64—eight seeded players join the remaining 56 players.

EOM/RR/2010hrs

Kind attention Sports Desk: Our photographer Mr. Siva Saravanan has posted Sharath Kamal photos (203547743, 203547746, 203547749, 203547752, 203547755) in NICA for possible use with the report.

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