by Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Manager
Manav Vikash Thakkar and Manush Utpalbhai Shah alongside Archana Girish Kamath and Selena Selvakumar will all be on duty; pertinently India is the only national association with the full complement of players, two boys and two girls, present at the three day tournament.
They are all players gradually honing their skills, ever more comfortable on the international arena. Progress undoubtedly, now the task is to make even more progress.
Notably Manav Vikash Thakkar, Archana Girish Kamath and Selena Selvakumar all competed in the 2016 ITTF World Junior Circuit Grand Finals, held in the Indian city of Indore.
Last year Manav Vikash Thakkar reached the quarter-final round of the Boys’ Singles event; he was beaten by the champion elect, Lin Yun-Ju, after having finished in second place in his group. In the group stage, he had experienced defeat at the hands of Slovenia’s Darko Jorgic but had recorded wins in opposition to Australia’s Rohan Dhooria and Victor Liu of the United States.
Meanwhile, in Indore there was no place in the main draw of the Girls’ Singles event for either Archana Girish Kamath or Selena Selvakumar; however Archana Girish Kamath came mightily close and Selena Selvakumar won the consolation event.
In Indore, Archana Girish Kamath caused a major upset in the group stage by overcoming Hong Kong’s Mak Sze Wing; however, she experienced defeat against Amy Wang of the United States, whom Mak Sze Wing beat. Archana Girish Kamath had to settle for third position on games ratio. Eventually, after accounting for Brazil’s Martina Kohatsu at the semi-final stage of the consolation event, Archana Girish Kamath suffered at the hands of Romania’s Andreea Clapa.
Defeat for Archana Girish Kamath but Selena Selvakumar extracted revenge, having lost to Andreea Clapa in the group phase she reversed the decision to secure the top consolation prize.
Worthy performances and that form continued in 2017. Impressively Manav Vikash Thakkar won the Junior Boys’ Singles titles in India and Slovenia, ending the year in top spot on the Standings; Selena Selvakumar, gained an eventual third place in the Girls’ listings, having succeeded in Egypt. Archana Girish Kamath ended the year in 16th spot, her best being runners up spot in Serbia.
The one further member of the group has yet to scale those heights but Manush Utpalbhai Shah reached the semi-final stage of the Junior Boys’ Singles events in India and Serbia.
He finished the year in 12th place on the ITTF World Junior Circuit Boys’ Standings; one year earlier he had concluded matters in the no.453 spot. Now that is progress!