Pakistan is unlikely to have a representation in the Commonwealth Table Tennis Championships despite sending four entries for the event, beginning in Cuttack on Wednesday. M P Singh, secretary-general at Table Tennis Federation of India, told PTI on Sunday that there is still no clarity over the participation of Pakistan paddlers.
"A six-member Pakistani contingent, including four players and two officials, was supposed to travel to Cuttack. They had sent in their entries well in advance but we are yet to hear from them, if they have got the Indian visa or not," Singh said. Last month, the Indian government had assured the International Olympic Committee (IOC) that all athletes will be allowed to participate in international events held in the country.
However, the Commonwealth Championships doesn't come under IOC's purview. The Indian government's decision had come after the IOC had decided to "suspend all discussions" with India regarding hosting of global sporting events after Pakistani shooters were not issued visas for the World Cup held here in February.
Last year, Kosovan boxer Donjeta Sadiku was also denied participation in the World Women's Championships in New Delhi since India does not recognise the nation. However, a full-strength India squad will aim for a bagful of medals in the competition.
Sharath Kamal, arguably the most experienced Indian in the squad, has always been instrumental in India's medal hunt since his gold-winning performance in 2006 Commonwealth Games at Melbourne. Add the presence of G Sathiyan, the top-ranked Indian in the world at No. 24, the woes for any opponent is complete.
The two experienced and in-form players will combine with the likes of Anthony Amalraj, Harmeet Desai and the exuberant Manav Thakkar. Indian men are the favourites to win the men's team championships but that cannot be said about the women's squad, which is led by Manika Batra, who is the lone Indian in the top-100 of the world.
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