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table tennis national camp: Indian paddlers back in national camp, TTFI says foreign coach unlikely before Olympics | More sports News

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NEW DELHI: India’s table tennis players, sans some of the top stars, have assembled for a 40-day national camp in Sonepat, Haryana, after almost a seven-month hiatus forced by the coronavirus pandemic; but the chances of hiring a foreign coach on the road to qualifying for the rescheduled Tokyo Olympics next year remain close to none.
Among the leading names featured at the camp to be held at the Delhi Public School (DPS) in Sonepat will be India’s top-ranked paddler Achanta Sharath Kamal. The players arrived for the camp on Wednesday and will be in mandatory quarantine for five days, after which they will undergo a Covid-19 test before starting training.
However, two of India’s noted players in the TT circuit, Sathiyan Gnansekaran and Manika Batra, will be missing.
Sathiyan has just returned from his short stint in the Polish league and will be playing in the league in Japan next, while Manika has decided to continue training at her base in Pune. Also absent will be Harmeet Desai, who is currently training in Germany, and Sreeja Akula, who has excused herself on personal grounds.
It is not mandatory for the players to be present for the camp, which will be held under the supervision of former India player Sunil Babras.

(File image of Kamlesh Mehta talking to Indian players – TOI Photo)
The Indian team has been without a head coach since September 2018 when Massimo Costantini resigned from the position. In July 2019, Dejan Papic was appointed as replacement but he failed to join due to medical reasons.
Secretary of the Table Tennis Federation of India (TTFI), MP Singh, said it’s highly unlikely that a foreign coach will be appointed before the Olympics, which have been rescheduled for July 23 to August 8 in 2021.
“It’s almost impossible,” said Singh talking to Timesofindia.com. “Earlier, it was planned that we will get someone before the end of 2020, but that hasn’t happened. Can’t do anything about it.”
“SAI has said that we (TTFI) can appoint one or two coaches. No issues for them,” Singh further said. But most of the top coaches are unavailable, and the coronavirus pandemic has added to the roadblocks.
Singh further added that if after the World Championships, which is expected to be held around March next year, any of the coaches become free or are released by any country, the federation might look at them.

(File image of Achanta Sharath Kamal – Getty Images)
‘ALL OF US NEED COACHES’
When Timeosfindia.com asked ace Indian paddler Sharath Kamal about the possibility of India getting another foreign coach, the world No. 31 said, “Nothing as of now, and there’s also no chance at this point of time, getting a foreigner into India. We will have to wait and see.”
The 38-year-old veteran said the federation is doing its bit but the players can’t not have a head coach.
“…a coach for the national camp always helps. They (head coaches) make the plans, do everything around the team’s preparation. With the kind of make-shift arrangement that we have now, at least they (TTFI) are able to support us using these training camps,” said Sathiyan who, from time to time, personally hires the coaching services of Sweden’s Linus Mernsten, besides being helped by his father, Srinivasa Rao, who is also a Dronacharya award winner.
The nine-time national champion is of the opinion that no matter how big or established a player is, a coach is always the one who is able to point out those “minute details” the players need to improve on.
“When Roger Federer himself is looking for a coach, who are we? All of us need coaches. We know the drill, we know what is to be done. But those minute details, like this is not coming out (the right way) or just do a little bit more on that, getting more into that 5 to 10 percent of detail just adds up to getting that perfect shot, that is the coach’s job,” the eight-time Commonwealth Games medallist (including four gold medals) explained.
Sharath also won two historic bronze medals in the men’s team and mixed doubles events for India at the 2018 Asian Games.


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CSK vs KKR: Stephen Fleming counts positives amid mixed emotions, calls Ruturaj Gaikwad “the right player” | Cricket News

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DUBAI: Chennai Super Kings coach Stephen Fleming took solace from finding the “right player” in Ruturaj Gaikwad as he dealt with the mixed emotions of notching up victories after being knocked out of play-offs contention in the IPL.
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CSK dented Kolkata Knight Riders‘ chances of advancing to the knockouts with a six-wicket win on Thursday. The three-time champions have just one game left to play in the competition after a disastrous early run put paid to their prospects of moving ahead.
“Mixed reactions really, when you’re out of the competition, you’re not as nervous. You’re surely disappointed to watch it all unfold but still very pleased to get the win,” he said in the post-match press conference.
Fleming was lavish in his praise for Gaikwad who shone in the win with a 72-run knock, displaying the spark that skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni did not see in the younger bunch of the side.

“He has done well in the last couple of games. We’re happy that he’s taken the opportunity. We look back at the missed opportunities when he got COVID-19. He missed out the pre-season, he came back after about 4-5 weeks in isolation,” Fleming recalled.
“We tried to get him involved but he was a long way from being ready. So we’re just happy now to create the opportunity and he has shown us that he’s the right player,” he added.
Fleming also lauded Gaikwad’s timing and described him as a very fluent player.
“He has got lovely timing, a very fluent player. It allows him to hit the ball in the gaps, a lot of power for a small guy.

“His net sessions in Chennai before we arrived here were outstanding and we’re disappointed that he had to miss the first two or three weeks with us,” the former New Zealand captain added.
CSK captain M S Dhoni had also hailed Gaikwad after the match on Thursday and said he was one of the most talented players around.
Asked about the match, Fleming said the win could have been much smoother.
“We were playing well, certainly we lost wickets and partnership of (Ambati) Rayudu and Ruturaj. But we felt we got ourselves in a position where we were probably the favourites to win…There was a little bit of luck and few twists for us to get over the line,” he added.
Fleming also had words of praise for all-rounder Ravindra Jadeja whose cameo (11-ball 31) took CSK past the line.
“He’s very free (in his batting). He’s tried to play too smart but he’s now playing free. He trains very hard, he’s hitting a lot of balls and that’s paying off.
“His finishing in the middle to later parts of the tournament has been outstanding,” the coach added.



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Royal Antwerp upset Tottenham Hotspur to go top of Europa League group | Football News

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ANTWERP (Belgium): Belgian league leaders Antwerp secured a shock 1-0 win over Tottenham Hotspur in their Europa League clash on Thursday thanks to veteran striker Lior Refaelov’s first-half goal.
The result was a second win for Antwerp and puts them top in Group J, three points ahead of Spurs and LASK of Austria.
Antwerp dominated the first half and went ahead just before the half-hour mark after a defensive lapse by Ben Davies allowed Dieumerci Mbokani to steal away the ball and set up the Israel international for a solid finish.
Four substitutions at the start of the second half reflected the irritation of Spurs manager Jose Mourinho, but Antwerp continued to look the more dangerous despite the changes.
Straight after the break it took a last-ditch defensive lunge by Tottenham’s Davinson Sanchez to deny the home side a second goal, before Mbokani had an easy chance at the back post in the 54th minute, but somehow managed to miss the target.
Simen Juklerod then forced Tottenham goalkeeper Hugo Lloris to tip the ball over the crossbar as Antwerp kept creating chances, before missing a gilt-edged opportunity at the end of 72nd-minute breakaway.
He outstripped the visiting defence and had only the goalkeeper to beat but shot wildly over.
In between, Harry Kane came on for Gareth Bale but the Spurs skipper was also unable to ignite a comeback as Antwerp proved defensively solid to hang on for the win.


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