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Divya Deshpande, paddling against the tide

Aug 09,2018

Playing for PSPB in the finals, she beat Archana Kamath 11-8, 11-6, 7-11, 3-11, 13-11, 5-11, 11-5 to win her first-ever inter-institutional title.

Mumbai: Table tennis player Divya Deshpande has combated the idea of hanging up her boots many times. A number of athletes face this problem after reaching a certain level, but unable to take their career further up.

But this time it is different for the young girl. Divya clinched the inter-institutional Table Tennis Championships in Coimbatore on Tuesday. The triumph included a win against Commonwealth Games champion Manika Batra in the quarterfinals and has assured her of her run towards the top.

Playing for PSPB in the finals, she beat Archana Kamath 11-8, 11-6, 7-11, 3-11, 13-11, 5-11, 11-5 to win her first-ever inter-institutional title.

So, what did she do different this time?

Divya explains, “It was the talk that I gave to myself. This time, I did not have a coach on my corner. In such situations, I take my friends but not this time. I felt that things were going well alone so let’s try the self-talk.”

While facing Batra in the quarterfinals, the Mumbai-based paddler did not worry. The 28-year old insists that she had faced her younger counterpart enough times to not commit any mistakes.

“I knew what I had to play. My idea was to go point-by-point instead of planning the whole match. We had good rallies and I was very consistent,” says Divya, who beat Batra 7-11, 11-6, 10-12, 11-9, 5-11, 14-12, 11-5.

Divya says she in over-thinker and that helps her.

“See, I over-think a lot but it works for me like it did in Coimbatore,” says Divya. I’ve had my share of ups and downs.

A decade ago, there was a silver medal in her cabinet from the Commonwealth Youth Games in the women’s doubles category. But it didn’t guarantee her an entry into the senior level.

“One or two times… actually many times I had a feeling of quitting. I was upset with the way things were going. I was on a low. But there were a few wins here and there that kept me going. I needed this win more than anything,” she says with a lot of emotion. Divya did not appear in the first edition of Ultimate Table Tennis League but this time she was picked by the franchise Empowerji Challengers. “Even I wanted to be on the TV!” she says.


Source : THE ASIAN AGE. | KABEER KHAN

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