Table Tennis in India as of now is observing a paradigm shift thanks to a stellar performance by our paddlers in the XXI Gold Coast Games in Australia. Along with Manika Batra one more female who got everyone’s attention was Mouma Das.    

Background of Mouma Das

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Mouma is veteran Indian paddler who has over ten years of playing experience at national and international level.

Mouma Das was on born 24 February 1984 in Narkeldanga, West Bengal and brought up in Kolkata. She started playing table tennis on a full-fledged basis from the year 1993.

Strangely enough, table tennis happened to her by chance. She was very naughty as a child. Just to stop her from doing naughty things, her parents got her admitted to a club where she started table tennis. And over there, Mouma Das got the first hand experience of TT and started enjoying the game and regional tournaments. This is where it all  began.

Once a naughty child, Mouma is the Leading Light of Indian Table Tennis..

Much of her success has been down to the influence of her coaches. Her first coach, Jayanta Pushilal, shaped her game in the early stages of her career.

Apart from Pushilal, another coach played a big role in her sustained success – Peter Engel from Germany.

“There was one period in my career around 2013 when I went into a slump,” she said.

“It was due to him that I managed to come out of it. Apart from learning new techniques, it was his motivation that really helped me. He would always tell me not to doubt my game just because I was growing older and told me about world class players from Germany who continued to succeed at the game even at 35-36 and after having kids. He made me fall in love with the game again.”

Her performance at the Melbourne CWG and the one at New Delhi in 2010, where she bagged a silver medal (team) and bronze (women’s doubles) were the defining moments in her career.

Mouma Das has received the Arjuna Award in 2013 for her contribution to the sport. 

A True Sportsperson .. Mouma Das

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Mouma and Madhurika in action during CWG 2018.

During Women’s doubles rubber against Singapore’s Mengyu Yu and Yihan Zhou at CWG 2018,Indian duo of Mouma Das and Madhurika Patkar outplayed Singapore in two games 11-7, 11-6. Yu and Zhou made a comeback in the third game to keep Singapore’s hope alive.

At the very end of the fourth game, with the scores reading 10-7 in favour of the Indians, Mouma and Madhurika decided to take a time-out to calm the flowing adrenaline. As the play resumed, Mouma was receiving the serve.

However, as she returned the serve, the ball brushed off the top of the net and landed on the opponent’s’ court, making it almost impossible for the Singaporeans return.

While the point ensured win for Indian duo but Mouma did not start celebrating and instead raised her hand in apology immediately. While customary hand shake with opponents after the win it appeared more like that she was saying sorry.

The crowd in the stadium applauded the incredible gesture.

It was a terrific act of sportsmanship on the part of Mouma and surely, was the best moment from the final.

How Mouma Das became an international sports star player

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A young Mouma polishing her paddling skills.

The 1997 World Table Tennis Championships were held in Manchester, UK from April 24 to May 5, 1997. She represented India for the first time in 1997 at the age of 13 in the Commonwealth Championship.

Following her first major international exposure, Mouma Das represented India at various national & international tournaments thereafter. In the process, she bagged individual & team event medals for the nation. This led to Mouma Das gain popularity as an international TT player not only in India, but across the globe.

Early 2000’s era-  Mouma Das at her aggressive best

After establishing herself as an international TT player, Mouma Das participated in the 61st National & inter-state championship at Dr.Bhimrao Ambedkar Stadium. Mouma Das was competing for her 1st National title playing from the PSCB (Petroleum Sports Control Board) against the experienced Ambika Radhika. She went on to win the match against Ekta Bhambri in the pre-quarterfinals followed by her victory over Radhika in the Quarter-finals (21-15,18-21,21-15,21-12).

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Mouma has been a constant performer for India over the years.

Mouma Das won her first senior national crown in Lucknow in the year 2000 at the 76th Senior National Table Tennis championship.

She participated in the 2004 Olympic Games where she competed in the singles table tennis competition. Though she was eliminated after the round 1, she was the lone Indian paddler to perform at those games.

Career Timeline of Mouma Das

  • Mouma won a bronze medal in the team event at the 2006 Commonwealth Games in Melbourne.
  • Silver medal in the team event and a bronze medal in the doubles event at the Delhi 2010 Commonwealth Games. She also bagged a bronze medal in the 2001 Commonwealth Games.
  • Mouma Das has represented India at the World Table Tennis Championships a record 13 times.
  • Indian womens double pair of Mouma Das & Manika Batra added  silver medal at the recently concluded Commonwealth Games 2018 at Gold Coast, Australia . Indian duo failed to challenge the Singaporean combination of Tianwei Feng and Mengyu Yu in final.

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The duo proved their dominance over the table with straight-set victory over Malaysia (11-4,11-6,11-5) in the semi-finals of the women’s doubles match.

Future of Table Tennis in India

Indian table tennis is flying high of late. Our teams excelled and won titles in the World Championship last year was indeed praiseworthy. It was a first for India.

Even more commendable was Sharath Kamal, Soumyajit Ghosh, Mouma Das and Manika Batra — making the cut for the Rio Olympics, yet another first for the country.The Olympics qualifications are never a fluke.

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There has been a marked improvement in international rankings of most Indian players. Except for the 2014 Commonwealth Games at Glasgow, the Indian paddlers have either lived up to the expectations or improved upon them.

Sharath Kamal has been the lone Indian in the top 100 for several years. He even broke into the top 30 and surprised one and all.

Thanks to a plethora of overseas exposures and training methods, junior players, especially Archana Girish Kamath and Manav Thakkar  have done extremely well in the Global Junior Circuit, winning titles.

Seeing their potential, International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF) has chosen them for a special funding through International Olympic Committee’s solidarity programme. Now, players are venturing out at no cost to the government with the help of the Table Tennis Federation of India (TTFI) and it is paying dividends. Not only the players, even their personal coaches travel overseas with them which, in turn, helps them gain experience and update their knowledge with modern coaching methods.

TTFI is also planning to rope in a foreign expert for the junior players

Yet, India has miles to go for toppling the world powerhouses China, Japan, South Korea, Chinese Taipei, Hong Kong and Singapore.

The question is how China and  other Asian countries in the East are doing far better while India is lagging behind.

First and foremost, sports have to be made a part of the school curriculum. In fact, there have been talks on the issue at regular intervals and for a long time but unfortunately academics takes precedence over everything else in India. It has to be drilled into the parents that their children can also make a career out of sports.

In China or Japan players are state property and offered all facilities with the sole aim of winning medals. In India, we have neither sports culture nor is it considered a priority.

But in recent times, in certain disciplines our sportspersons have done the country proud. Now we are employing international staff for coaching and sports counseling.

Provision of advanced amenities accompanied by developing interest in sports and physical training among the Indian youth will produce good results in the future.

Ultimate Table Tennis (UTT)- A new revolution

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UTT presents great exposure to Indian paddlers with international TT stars.

With new leagues coming up for various sports in the nation and gaining success to find new talent.

UTT is a similar league introduced by 11EVEN SPORTS Pvt Ltd (ESPL) to enhance the sport of Table tennis in the nation. It is a platform set for the Indian paddlers to raise the level of their performance a notch above. With the influx of technical know-how & professionalism, UTT visualizes Olympic medal for India in Table-tennis by 2024.

Lesser Known facts of  Mouma Das

It has been a good year for Indian Table Tennis and Mouma Das as she was the part of Indian duo who won India’s first-ever silver in the women’s doubles event at the Commonwealth Games 2018.

Career highlights about India’s senior most TT player :

  1. She represented India for the first time in 1997 at the age of 13 in the Commonwealth Championships.
  2. She is the fifth Table Tennis player from West Bengal to be awarded the Arjuna.
  3. She married IT professional Kanchan Chakraborty on November 30, 2012
  4. Mouma spends her leisure time by watching movies and listening to music.
  5. She plays at the Narkeldanga Sadharan Samity on a regular basis.

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