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Home > City Resources > Sports & Recreation > Interview

  Ankur Mahajan  

Teenage table-tennis sensation Ankur Mahajan has a bright future ahead

Ankur Mahajan15-year-old Ankur Mahajan, who bagged the 5th position in the Asian schools table-tennis championships held in Hong Kong in June 2000, has a long list of achievements that belies his tender age. Ankur represented Maharashtra with success in the team championships held in Alibag, Aurangabad, Karad, Thane and Pune from 1996 to 2000. His recent exploits include his victory in the MSSA-Colgate Inter-School Table Tennis Tournament held at the University Sports Pavilion in September 2000. Ankur also won the Mumbai Suburban District Tournament held at MIG Club, Bandra in September 2000. From 1998 onwards, ONGC has regularly sponsored Ankur, to enable him to pursue his favourite game. Ankur, who is a tenth-standard student of St. Blaise High School, Andheri, is computer savvy and also enjoys swimming, football and western music. He spoke to about his ambition to represent India in table-tennis.

When did you make your debut at the competitive level ?

I was only 11 years old when I played for the first time in a State Ranking Tournament held in Jalgaon in 1996. I lost in the second round because I was very nervous. Since then, I have performed reasonably well in competitive tournaments. I won the State Championships in the under-17 category, held in Thane in 1998. In the Mumbai Suburban District Tournament held in September 2000, I beat the top seed Nachiket Chawale in the semi-final and Aditya Mahagaonkar in the final to win the tournament.

Who is your coach ? What is your practice schedule like ?

Former national champion Kamlesh Mehta coaches me. During exams, coach Mehta plans my practice schedule. He divides the time proportionately, which enables me to concentrate on academics and table-tennis as well. I practice the game for 3 hours in Don Bosco school and 1 hour at Andheri YMCA everyday.

Who inspired you to take to table-tennis ?

My father Jitendra Mahajan was instrumental in making me take up the sport. I am also indebted to my coach Kamlesh Mehta, and my sister Pooja for their support and encouragement.

How does table-tennis help in your academics ?

While playing table-tennis I have to concentrate hard for every point. If I do not concentrate, there is always the risk of losing valuable points. It helps in developing concentration which enables me to perform well in my studies too.

What are your future plans?

I want to play for India. The national championships are held every year in the month of November. My aim is to perform well and qualify in the top four bracket in order to play for the country. I also want to play in China for greater exposure.

Author's Name : Wasim Siddiqui
Photographer's Name : Uma Kadam



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