Indian Table Tennis Players shine in Ontario Canada
Tennis is also known as “ping pong” and is the second most played
sport in the world’s major sports.
Like cricket has recently improved the relations between the
peoples of India and Pakistan, it was “Ping Pong Diplomacy” that was
used by Nixon to open the doors with China.
best competitive players are from China but the game is popular in
Europe and several World titles have gone to Sweden.
In the recent 2004 World Men’s Team Championships played at
Qatar, China beat Germany in the finals.
India is currently ranked 31st and Canada at 33rd.
game is played by a very diverse community of all ages here in Canada
but dominated by Chinese players. In the last 4 years some former State
players from India have changed the scene.
They have got together to form a team “Global Peace” led by
Surinder Sharma, a former Delhi and Punjab State player.
This Indo-Canadian team has upset most top teams in Ontario’s
major event - Mississauga Table Tennis League played at Woodlands School
in Mississauga. 38 teams
participated in the League and Global Peace finished among the top four
and is the serious contender for the title next year.
Surinder Sharma landed in 1995, there were no Indians among the ‘A’
division players and today Sanjeev Chopra who played for Global Peace is
ranked 56 in Canada. If Sanjeev plays the full Canadian circuit, he
would be among the first 20 claims Surinder Sharma.
Like Surinder, Sanjeev Chopra started his game in Delhi and
represented the Delhi State at National Championships twice in 1981-83.
Dutta, another stylish player from Indore has represented MP State in
the National Championships in India for 9 consecutive years.
Surinder and Sumit brought together Indo-Canadian players as one
team when they first entered the league matches in 2001.
They were joined in 2002 by Ashish Kemkar, a former Maharastra
ranked player who has improved his game here in the last two seasons and
can be a threat to any player.
Krishnan, the other member of the Global Peace was two years old when he
came from India and learnt the skills in Canada.
He also holds Canada ranking (No. 69) and plays major tournaments
across the country. The most promising is 16-year old Markham player;
Sivraj Muralikrishnan having No. 30 ranking in Canada and may go to
represent Canada one day.
the individual events too, the Indian players have been shinning.
Sumit Dutta stole the limelight in the Men’s singles event of
the Mississauga Open last year winning the title against David Lau.
Sumit was upset this year by team mate Surinder Sharma who later
lost to Sanjeev Chopra in the quarter finals. Sanjeev Chopra reached the
finals and lost a very close game to David Lau.
At the Annual Awards Night, when Surinder came to receive his
Doubles trophy and Ashish lifted the ‘B’ Singles and Handicap
Singles prizes, Alain Thomas, a senior coach with the Ontario Table
Tennis Association commented that “the Indians have arrived on the
Chopra has shown the most consistent form this year taking his points
tally from 1700 to 2290 and has set up a fully equipped practice and
training facility in his basement.
Sanjeev feels the game has gained popularity but lacks sponsors
and gets little media attention in Canada.
Surinder Sharma who has been giving time for community work with Panorama India, mentorship for professional engineers and education for human values programs strongly feels that youths from our community must get involved in the mainstream sports and parents should encourage the children to participate in sports to develop “a well rounded personality”.