Friday, April 13, 2012

Karnam Spoorthy is brimming with confidence

 Not yet 15, Karnam Spoorthy is set to stamp her class on the table tennis firmament. For one so young, just having written her matriculation exams, the Vijayawada native is quick to size up an opponent and her game.

The teenager's fore and backhand counter top spin driven game has rivals on the back-foot soon enough. So does her court craft find her in excellent control of the table as much as her receiving of serve is spot-on.

Little wonder then that she has Chief National Coach Bhawani Mukherji admiring. “Spoorthy is very talented, young and a promising player. Going by her performance at the national and international level, I see a good future for her,” he notes.

As a seven-year-old, Spoorthy followed in the footsteps of her father, Karnam Balram Prasad, a former Mangalore university paddler. Not quite as tall as the table her dad had at home, she soon grasped the game's finer points and in just a month or two was seriously into the sport.

She then came under Balram's friend Anil Babu's tutelage. When the latter left for the U. S., she was and continues to be mentored by K. Jayaram, a five-time A.P. state champion.

Since Spoorthy's outgrown the competition in her native town, she practises with Vivek Vardhan, Sai Praneeth and Chandrashekar, all of them state-level players. Positioned at 35 in the International Table Tennis Federation's (ITTF) girls under 15 rankings, her sponsor Airports Authority of India (AAI) supports her to the tune of Rs. 2.4 lakhs per annum.

The amount meets expenses such as travel and accommodation but her parents spend upto Rs. 6 lakhs each year to let her pursue her passion. Achanta Sharath Kamal inspires her now as did Divya Deshpande when Spoorthy set out into the sport. A meeting with Zhang Yining, winner of nine world championship crowns and four Olympic gold medals is by far the most memorable moment of her life, even more than the U. S. Open cadet girls title Spoorthy won in Michigan, in 2010. A photograph with the greatest woman paddler to emerge from China was a bonus.

The Vijayawada lass however has her career plans carefully chalked out. “To crack the top ten of the ITTF world rankings in cadet girls, is the immediate target,” she says. Currently No. 35, she's eligible to compete in the said category till this year-end. In other sections, she's classified as follows: 681 among women, 388 in youth (under 21 years) and 232 in girls over 18.

Spoorthy then hopes to climb the rankings at the senior level, aim for a Commonwealth medal and qualify for the Olympics too.
Post a Comment