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Can't afford to take Sharath lightly: Top seed

Last updated on: October 4, 2010 16:19 IST

'I'm not taking Sharath lightly'



Top seed Gao Ning will not take Indian table tennis' biggest hope Achanta Sharath Kamal lightly in case the two paddlers come face to face in the singles event of the Commonwealth Games.

Sharath has, in the past, given the Singapore-based paddler some tough competitions, and Gao is wary of that.

The world number 17, however, is yet to think of a strategy for the lanky Indian, who has been in fine touch off late having won two back-to-back international titles.

"Sharath is a good player, I am not going to take him lightly if we meet in the singles competition. But at the moment, we are concentrating on the team event only and will think about the individual events later," Gao said.

"In table tennis everything depends on the form of a player on that particular day. I am very confident, let's see what happens," the star paddler from Singapore said through an interpreter.

World number 41 Sharath, who had clinched the singles title in the previous edition of the Games in Melbourne, has been seeded second in the Delhi Games.

After missing the last edition, Gao is confident of putting up a good performance in the singles event this time around.

Image: Gao Ning
Photographs: Reuters

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"I want to concentrate one by one. But yes, I am confident of a good show in the Indian capital," he said.

Gao also praised the arrangements in New Delhi, saying that the experience this time was better than his earlier visits to the country. "I have visited the country earlier also for other tournaments, but the facilities are better this time. I must say, this is a big event also.

"The facilities are simply great everywhere, starting from the Games Village to the venues. The transport facilities are also fine. It's nice to be here," said Gao, who was born in China's Hebei province.

The 27-year-old Olympian also felt that, with the Asian Games scheduled for next month, good performances in Delhi would boost his confidence.

"Asian Games is coming up and I want to perform well there also. A couple of fine performances here will certainly be a good preparation for the Asian Games," said Gao.

The Asian Games is scheduled to take place in Guangzhou, China from November 12 to 27.

Image: Achanta Sharath Kamal

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