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Soumyajit, Ankita book London berth,

 NEW DELHI, April 22 (IANS): Soumyajit Ghosh and Ankita Das, booked their London Olympics berths on Sunday in the Asian Olympic Qualification Table Tennis Tournament in Hong Kong, but it was heartbreak for top paddler Achanta Sharath Kamal.

For both Ghosh and Ankita, the berths came via the continental quotas, after they topped from the South Asian region. Ghosh defeated Anthony Amal Raj 4-0 (12-10, 11-9, 11-6, 11-7) and Ankita downed K Shamini 4-3 (8-11, 11-3, 11-8, 11-13, 11-9, 9-11, 11-8) to clinch the two places for India.

Sharath Kamal, who earlier lost to Wu Chi-Chi of Taipei 9-11, 9-11, 7-11, 11-2, 8-11, had to take on Amal Raj to make progress and meet Ghosh, who had won against Vietnam’s Tran Tuan Quynh. But it was Amal Raj who defeated Sharath 4-3 (9-11, 12-10, 11-13, 12-10, 4-11, 11-9, 11-3) to shut out his chances and earn a meeting against Ghosh.

Elated as he was, the 19-year-old Ghosh said it was his dream to appear on the biggest of all stages.

“I have realized my dream today and will prepare well for the Olympics. It was a real tough match against Amal Raj and it could have been anybody’s game. I am happy I won it to earn the spot,” said the Siliguri boy, who became the first Indian to win the world junior circuit title in 2010.

Ghosh also gave full credit to the ITTF scholarship programme at the Peter Karlsson academy in Sweden and thanked the Table Tennis Federation of India (TTFI) for choosing him as a worthy player.

“My coaches in India as well as my training at the Karlsson Academy for six months has stood me in good stead and I must thank TTFI for selecting me for the scholarship,” added the BPCL player, who was part of India team’s bronze-winning member at the world junior championships in 2011.

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