Pune: Playing eleven matches in a day and emerging victorious in all of them is not an easy task, but Diya Chitale made it look easy as she was not tired at all.

“It is tough to play back-to-back matches, but this is what endurance is all about. You need to be ready for such challenges,” said a smiling Diya who clinched two individuals titles – junior and women in the 50th inter-district championship and 81st Maharashtra State Table Tennis Championship that concluded at Shiv Chhatrapati sports complex in Balewadi on Wednesday.

The Mumbai-based player first defeated home favorite Pritha Vartikar 11-7, 17-15, 11-8, 11-8 before overcoming Srushti Haleangadi 11-7, 11-5, 9-11, 12-10, 11-9 in women’s section.

Diya will be taking part in the World Junior Table Tennis Championship in Korat, Thailand, from November 24.

What started as a hobby, the 16-year-old now dedicates five-six hours every day for table tennis practice and also trains for six months in Germany every year.

“My coach Sachin Shetty sir accompanies me to Germany, Berlin, where I train under coach Peter Engel,” said Diya, who took part in state championship after winning the bronze in the west zone national ranking table tennis in Mumbai last week.

Diya’s forte is her forehand shot and she used it to beat Pritha who plays an attacking game. Forehand topspin trapped Pritha on numerous occasions and she surrendered thereafter.

“Pritha has an attacking game, so I had to play accordingly. Srushti is a senior player and I have defeated her in the past, so I was confident,” said Diya.

Key is to focus on improving basic techniques

Playing table tennis for the last six years, Diya is always keen on improving basic techniques.

“Even in Germany, the focus is on improving on the basics. Training outside India helps as you get accustomed to playing in different conditions and gives an opportunity to face foreign players,” said Diya, who also plays in German leagues whenever she is training in a foreign country.

Chitale is progressing step by step: Shetty

Coaching Chitale since the start of her table tennis career, Sachin Shetty is monitoring her progress closely.

“Diya is progressing step by step and the reason behind selecting Germany and Japan for training is to make her accustomed to playing in different situations and different tables,” said Shetty.

“Her training in Germany is a learning experience for me to plan things accordingly. The wholehearted support of her parents is the top-most positive in her sports career,” said Shetty, who now shifts his focus on World Junior Table Tennis Championship where Chitale will be competing next.

Diya Chitale, Mumbai Suburban

I played an aggressive game that helps me overcome the opponent. I countered the competitor’s attacking game with equal measure.

Pritha Vartikar, Pune

From the start, I should have focussed on attack and rallies and build pressure on the opponent, but I was unable to do so due to my right shoulder pain.


Junior girls: Diya Chitale (MSD) bt Pritha Vartikar (PNA) 11-7, 17-15, 11-8, 11-8

Women: Diya Chitale (MSD) bt Srushti Haleangadi (MSD) 11-7, 11-5, 9-11, 12-10, 11-9

Source: Hindustan Times