After Nigeria Open high, paddler Ghosh eyes India comeback
By Debayan Mukherjee
Kolkata, Aug 15 (IANS) On a comeback trail after being embroiled in a case of domestic violence, former national table tennis champion Soumyajit Ghosh reached the semifinal of the ITTF Challenge Plus Nigeria Open, his first international competition since March 2018, and is now eager to continue the good work in his bid to regain a spot in the national team.
Ghosh lost to World No. 22 and local favourite Aruna Quadri 1-4 in the semifinal in Lagos last Sunday after getting the better of France's talented young paddler Alexandre Robinot 4-0 in the quarterfinal following a walkover in the Round of 16 from German Bastian Steger. Aruna went on to retain his crown in the men's singles event.
"I was lucky to get a walkover. I played well with Robinot who is a young and promising French player. I lost to dear friend Aruna in the semis but I am happy with how I played in Lagos," Ghosh, who became the youngest national champion in 2013, told IANS from Thiruvananthapuram where he is taking part in the UTT National Ranking (South Zone) Table Tennis Championships.
For Ghosh, who returned to competitive table tennis in June with the UTT National Ranking (North Zone) championships in Sonepat where he represented Haryana, it was a never easy.
"It never is (easy). I was up there with the very best in our country. I was playing in the best leagues. Now, I have to start all over again and prove myself. I spoke to Aruna, who invited me to play in the Nigeria Open. I went there under a lot of pressure. I had to take permission from the court. They told me to submit my passport by August 14.
"I still have that (incident) in the back of my head. But I am a positive guy, and I have to get my place back in the Indian team. But the good thing is that I can now play in all competitions," Ghosh said.
Ghosh had married the same girl who had accused him of rape and after the case was dismissed, the same girl filed fresh charges against the Olympian.
Ghosh and five of his family members and relatives were charged with IPC Sections 498A (physical and mental torture), 406 (criminal breach of trust), 195A (threatening to give false evidence) and 34 (common intention) at the Barasat Courts on January 16.
After getting a notice, they appeared at the Barasat Courts and after the hearing, the chief judicial magistrate granted bail without imposing any condition, his lawyer Sibashish Pattanayak Dey had said.
Ghosh served a suspension by Table Tennis Federation of India (TTFI) from March till December.
"I want to go step by step. I am concentrating on the UTT National Ranking (South Zone) meet now and then in October I will again try and play some international tournaments. I also want to go out and play in other countries for different clubs like I used to. It won't be easy. But I have no choice," the 26-year old from Siliguri said.
"Making it to the Indian team for the 2020 Olympics is thinking too far ahead. I have been told (by TTFI) that I have to start from scratch. I am doing that," he said.
Ghosh thanked his mentor Soumyadeep Roy, former paddler Poulomi Ghatak, his fitness trainer Chinmoy Roy and physiotherapist Hirak Bagchi for helping him make a comeback.
"I have to thank my family too for standing tall in bad times. It was really hard but I am getting there, slowly," he concluded.
(The writer can be contacted at [email protected])