WTT Star Contender Goa 2024 boosts qualification hopes of Indian paddlers for Paris Olympics
(Courtesy : Artsmith)
Sreeja Akula made it to the Quarter-finals in Goa
The recently concluded WTT Star Contender Goa 2024 witnessed the global table tennis stars ascending at Mapusa’s Peddem Indoor Stadium with the French teenage sensation World No. 6 Felix Lebrun and Tokyo Olympics bronze medallist Cheng I-Ching lifting the men’s and women’s singles titles respectively.
The prestigious tournament not only recorded historic Indian participation for a WTT event with 43 Indians competing but also bolstered qualification chances for the upcoming 2024 Paris Olympics Games as they racked up some valuable rankings points with impressive performances in front of the home support.
“We are thrilled to successfully organise yet another edition of the WTT Star Contender Goa. This year’s tournament was more important for our Indian players considering the upcoming Paris Olympics and I was delighted to see players like Sreeja Akula, Manika Batra taking advantage of the home support and collecting crucial ranking points. I thank the honourable Union Sports Minister Shri Anurag Singh Thakur Ji, Union Sports Ministry, Honourable CM of Goa Shri Pramod Sawant Ji, Government of Goa and all the stakeholders for their constant support in making this edition a grand success,” said Deepak Malik, Tournament Director and also COO and Co-Founder of Stupa Sports Analytics.
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WTT Star Contender Goa is India’s biggest international table tennis tournament which is co-hosted by Stupa Sports Analytics and Ultimate Table Tennis under the guidance of the Table Tennis Federation of India (TTFI).
The 25-year-old Hyderabad paddler Sreeja was the standout performer for India in the tournament as she concluded her campaign in the singles quarter-finals which saw her climbing up 38 spots to secure a career-best world rankings. With the current world rankings of 36 and 51 respectively, Manika Batra and Sreeja have now strengthened their chances for the Paris Olympics qualification.
“WTT Star Contender Goa 2024 was a game-changer for me, it came at the right time and everything went well for me considering this is an Olympics year. I thank the organisers, my coach, physio and fans for their support. Playing in the home country is always a good feeling because we are used to playing in this environment and climatic conditions. It takes time to adapt to the conditions when you play in other countries. Thus, it was good for Indian players to play in India. This performance will also boost my confidence going forward,” Sreeja commented.
The prestigious tournament also witnessed five Indian pairs making it to the quarter-finals across categories which is a rarity in a WTT Star Contender event.
“It’s heartening to see Indians doing well at this tournament as we aim to provide them much-needed international platform and exposure through this event. As many as 18 Indian paddlers made WTT Star Contender debut which is a huge boost for Indian table tennis. With the participation of top international players and intense competition, it also gave Indians much-needed momentum ahead of the crucial World Team Table Tennis Championships. I wish them best luck,” Malik further added.
Following WTT Star Contender Goa 2024, the focus now shifts to World Team Table Tennis Championships, scheduled from February 16 to 25, where Top-8 teams will confirm their places in the Paris Olympics.