Paddlers Soumyajit, Ankita qualify for LO

New Delhi: Bengal paddlers Soumyajit Ghosh and Ankita Das booked their London Olympics berths on the concluding day of the Asian Olympic Qualification Table Tennis Tournament in Hong Kong, but it was a real heartbreak for top paddler Achanta Sharath Kamal.

For both Soumyajit and Ankita, the berths came via the continental quotas, after they topped from the South Asian region. "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," the Siliguri lad, who became the first Indian to win the world junior circuit title in 2010.

Soumyajit pipped compatriot and current national champion Anthony Amal Raj to emerge as the highest placed paddler in the South Asian region while Ankita won a hard fought battle against fellow Indian Kumaresan Shamini to seal a berth in the London Olympics.

Ghosh, who had an inconsistent run in the tournament, lost to Song Man Jang of North Korea in the first match of the day before coming back strongly to beat Tran Tuan Quynh of Vietnam and then overcoming Amal Raj to finish as the second reserve position.

Ghosh started off the day losing 2-4 (5-11, 11-9, 6-11, 12-10, 6-11, 4-11) to Jang, but that didn`t prove a deterrent for him as he clawed his way back whitewashing Quynh 4-0 (11-5, 11-5, 11-0, 11-0) before accounting for Amal Raj in another one-sided affair.

Amal Raj showed some fight in the opening game dragging Gosh to a 10-12 finish but that was not enough as the later won the next three games 11-9, 11-6, 11-7 to seal the match and the qualifying place.