New Delhi, March 30 (IANS) A nine-member Indian table tennis squad, led by triple-gold medallist Achanta Sharath Kamal, coaches Massimo Costantini and Soumyadeep Roy along with two support staff (a masseur and physio) left on Friday morning for Gold Coast to participate in the Commonwealth Games, beginning on April 4.
The team members, after arriving from their respective hometowns, headed straight to Rio Restaurant in Rajouri Garden where the Table Tennis Federation of India (TTFI) hosted a send-off dinner in honour of the players, coaches and the support staff.
The team members were presented bouquets and Secretary General M.P. Singh wished them well for the Games.
Facing allegations of sexual assault, Soumyajit Ghosh was not part of the squad as he is provisionally suspended by the TTFI.
Speaking on behalf of the players, Sharath expressed confidence and said that all players were positive about India’s performance.
“We realise the importance of the Games and equally the expectations of millions of Indians. Fortunately, we have the best possible team in both sections and I am sure we will not disappoint you as we expect to have a good harvest of medals at Gold Coast,” Sharath said.
Coach Massimo was equally cheerful and said India had the best chance this time.
“I am expecting the teams to win at least four medals. All players are in good shape which is an indication of the level of preparation. I am positive and so are the team members,” he said.
Men: Achanta Sharath Kamal, Sathiyan Gnanasekaran, Aanthony Amalraj, Harmeet Desai
Women: Manika Batra, Mouma Das, Madhurika Patkar, Pooja Sahasrabuddhe, Suthirta Mukherjee.
Coaches: Massimo Costantini and Soumyadeep Roy.
Support staff: Amarjit Singh (masseur) and Kishore Dey (physio).