Table tennis; more ‘fondly’ known as ping pong is surely the sport which is not as funny as it sounds. Regarded worldwide as a precision sport, it is one of those where the person has to harness his/ her strength meticulously.
In this article of the inter-IIT series, we talk about the Forrest Gumps of the insti who are more than ready to battle for the medal.
Note: The credits for the photographs in this article go to Swapnika and the Sports Organizing Committee. We thank the media club for their support!
The practice session:
Like every sport, the table tennis team worked their way throughout the semester, then the mini-camp and finally the vacation practice sessions during the main camp. When asked what was the difference between the two ‘camps’ as far as practice (apart from the academic pressure), Venkatesh, the freshie on the team says, “The only difference is that in mini-camp, sadly, they provide only juice!” The captain, Aditya, tried to cover it up by pressing on the importance of the mini-camp for the selection of the team.
The game format:
The game is a team event with different formats for men and women. The men’s team has a set of five singles with two played by two players and the last one played by the third. The team with maximum wins is declared the winner for that round and proceeds for the next match. While for women, a set of three games is played in a single-doubles-single manner.
The NSO selections for table tennis are generally held after all other sports. This affected the NSO players and the freshie participation in table tennis. The team admits that the freshies being given the liberty to choose a sport delays the process considerably which was disappointing.
The team had a tough time selecting the best people but multiple try out matches ensured that the best people were on the team. The captains were selected by their predecessors and the coach which was followed by the team selection. Subarna, the women’s captain speaks volumes about the women’s Schroeter and Sports Fest which proved beneficial in judging the consistency of the players. Stroke style and consistency during the matches and punctuality were the most sought after traits while building the team.
Aditya admits to the fact that he could have been more regular with the practice sessions. He also lost a few weeks during the mini-camp to dengue which affected his play. His dedication was apparent when he came to the courts to keep the team motivated around this time in spite of his illness. As the team puts it, he has recuperated for all the lost time and is back in the game. Saeel, the quieter of the champions calls him a very peaceful person while Raghav, the senior-most player on the team praises him for his commendable leadership.
Sanjana and Ragini claim that Subarna is one of the coolest persons on the team. Apart from being the best of the lot, she is always a source of motivation for the whole team. Being the only girl on the team who has played an inter IIT before is also an important factor which has shaped her leadership.
Raghav, the senior most player on the team has immense faith as they hope to bring a medal home. He does mention that their biggest problem can be the intimidating crowd as more than half of the team has not played outside the institute.
“For most of the team, it is the first inter IIT experience and the team has gone out of its way to train themselves for any unfathomable situations. It has been a steep learning curve for all of us and we hope to find our best game during the matches” says Subarna.
The girls expect a tough opposition from Kharagpur, Guwahati (the defending champions) and the home team. On the other hand, the guys claim that Bombay and Jodhpur- the defending champions are their biggest competitors.
We wish this close-knit team all the best as they take on their mighty competitors to bring back a medal!