Monday, January 2, 2023

Defying Dire Distress Anirban moves toward his goal

Sudeep Pakrashi

Anirban Ghosh is a name to reckon with in the field of Indian table tennis. He has not only won the men's singles title in the state championship this year once again, but Anirban has represented India also a couple of times. He was one of the members of the Indian team that participated in the Spanish Open Junior Championship in Barcelona in 2013. He took part in the South Asian Under-15 Championship held in Delhi and won an individual title in ITTF Global Junior Championship. Anirban who was ranked India's number one in the sub-junior category and also ranked one in youth at the junior level is presently ranked sixth in India in the senior category. Anirban also drew the attention of the Indian table tennis fraternity when in 2012 he, despite being the sub-junior national champion at the age of only 13 years, reached the semi-final in the men's category in the national championship and finally lost to his idol Sharath Kamal. Anirban also represented India to take part in Hungary Open Championship this year. 

The Dire Financial Distress

Anirban started playing table tennis in 2007. He was fond of playing cricket. But following encouragement from his uncle Anirban shifted his allegiance to table tennis. His father Abhijit Ghosh had a small shop for mobile recharge but it is closed for the last five years. His mother Kakali Ghosh is a housewife. Still, Anirban could continue the game thanks to his grandfather who supported him financially. Otherwise, the 24-year-old paddler had to go through sheer financial distress. 

He still recalls the day when his mother sold out her beloved harmonium to purchase the first racket for Anirban. 

The paddler said, "How can I forget those days? Within only six months of starting the game, I became runners-up in the state championship in the cadet category (under 12) and then my journey began. My father used to borrow loans against interest whenever I used to go outside Kolkata to take part in national zonal ranking tournaments. I finished within the top two in the competitions, received prize money and my father cleared the loan. This was the way I used to continue my game." Anirban's performance got affected also amidst the severe financial crisis. Still, he has not given up. The resident of Naihati seems to have shrugged off his dark time a little bit after he joined Indian Railways in 2018. 

Effect of Raman High-Performance Center

Anirban who started learning and training the game under the guidance of Amit Mukherjee and Sumit Mukherjee at Naihati Bijoynagar Club now practices under the tutelage of renowned former Indian international Subhramanium Raman's High-Performance Center in Chennai for around last two years. Anirban said, "Once I approached G.S Sathiyan, a student of Raman sir and one of India's best paddlers presently to practice with me. Then following his initiative I got admitted to Raman High-Performance Center. Training there is helping me a lot to improve. Raman sir is presently the coach of the men's Indian squad. So we practice under the observation of his wife, Olympian paddler Bhubaneswari Devi. Raman sir does not take any fees from me. I am hugely indebted. Following his initiative, I can do fitness training at Sports Dynamics which is looked after by R. Srinivasan who was appointed as the fitness trainer of the World Cup winning Indian team in 2011."

Anirban dreams of ensuring a berth in the senior national squad for the Asian Games next year and in a bid to ensure the qualification, the paddler has set his eyes on Asian Championship.


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