New Delhi: Two of the world’s top-10 players — Dmitrij Ovtcharov (5) of Germany and Belarus’ Vladimir Samsonov (8) — will be seen in action as the capital hosts the $150,000 ITTF World Tour India Open at the Thyagraj Stadium here on Tuesday.
The Hong Kong duo of world no. 13 Doo Hoi Kem and no. 19 Ching Lee Ho will be the star attractions in the women’s section. In the absence of top
players from China, Japan and South Korea, the event — the richest ever in India — offers a chance for home players to make a mark.
Three-time Olympian Achanta Sharath Kamal, who lifted his seventh national crown recently and is making a comeback after a six-month injury lay-off, will look to continue in same vein here. Kamal, the only seeded Indian men’s player at 11, will lead the home challenge along with young sensation Soumyajit Ghosh.
The 23-year-old Siliguri boy created history in 2012 when he became the youngest Indian to represent the country at the London Olympics.
“It’s great that these Olympic medallists are coming to India as it will help in building the sport in the country. “When you watch them live, you get a sense of how they prepare and also it’s great for the young players to get to know their patience levels,” Sharath said.
In the women’s section, world number 88 Manika Batra will lead the
local challenge and is seeded 10th, ahead of compatriots 12th seed Mouma Das, 14th seed Ayhika Mukherjee and 16th seed Ankita Das. Ovtcharov is no stranger to the country, having won the India Open just before the 2010 Commonwealth Games here, when the event was part of the ITTF Pro Tour.
Japan’s number one and world number four Jun Mizutani is not here but his country will be represented by Koki Niwa (ranked 19th), Yuto Muramatsu (24) and Yuya Oshima (39).
It is a draw of 32 for both the men’s and the women’s singles with the top 16 getting a direct entry into the main draw beginning Thursday. The qualification rounds will be held on Tuesday and Wednesday, where as many as 29 Indians
will vie to make the main draw.