Gandhidham (Gujarat) [India], February 26 : Gujarat’s talented table tennis star Shiney Gomes added another feather to her cap as she was named in the Indian team for the 24th Summer Deaflympics that will be held in the Brazilian cities of Caxias do Sul, Farroupilha and Flores da Cunha from May 1 to May 15, 2022.
At the selection trials held at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in New Delhi, Shiney came out with an outstanding display as she played nine matches, winning all of them and dropping just two games – that too in the final game.
“It’s a great feeling to represent the country once again at the Deaflympics. As a sportsperson, we just dream to represent our country at the highest level,” said the 24-year-old Shiney, who is from Ahmedabad. “There were 14 girls from across the country. I am happy with my performance as I did not lose a single game till the final,”
Up against India no.1 Surabhi Ghosh of Bengal in the final match, Shiney was 1-2 down before recording an impressive turnaround to win the game 3-2. “Beating her (Surabhi) is indeed a big achievement because she is very experienced and one of the best players in the country,” Shiney added.
Shiney, who led the TT team in the 2017 Deaflympics, is hoping to better her debut performance. “My first Deaflympics was in 2017 in Turkey. I was then the captain of the team. This time I am hoping to better our 6th position finish and break into top 4,” Shiney said, adding, “In singles, I am looking for a semi-final place at the least.”
A Manika Batra fan, Shiney admitted that Covid-19 was tough for the players but she did not let it lose her focus.
“Yes, it has been a very tough time for everyone. But as sportspeople we are mentally tough and ready to battle all odds,” she said, adding, “I was aware that selection trials will happen and I need to keep myself fit and motivated. As the academy was closed, I kept practicing on my terrace and in our society garden. I think that helped me when the trials came.”
“I also took time to watch videos of Batra’s matches during my time at home. She is my idol. There was so much to learn, you can always pick up a few things just by watching and observing,” said Shiney, who is trained under her father veteran coach Anthony Gomes at St Xavier’s Loyola.
Congratulating the youngster, Gujarat State Table Tennis Association (GSTTA) president Vipul Mittra, IAS, said, “Heartiest congratulations to our special one. Shiney is an amazing talent and her performance at the trials speaks volumes of the effort that she had put in during the tough times. I am sure that Shiney will shine bright at the Deaflympics.”
Echoing the sentiments, GSTTA chairman Milind Torawane, IAS, added, “It is indeed a special performance from the highly talented youngster. We had seen her at our state championships where she had shone brightly. Beating India no.1 in the trials, not dropping a single game till her final are no mean achievements. I am eagerly looking forward to her performance in Brazil.”
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