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Sharath Kamal's return to the domestic circuit provides the star turn for the National Ranking (South Zone) Table Tennis Championships starting at the Rajiv Gandhi Indoor Stadium from Thursday.
It will be first zonal meet that the Rio Olympian will be competing in this season, a release said.
Top-ranked Indian TT player in the world Soumyajit Ghosh and North Zone champion Anthony Amalraj won't be playing in the tournament.
However, the presence of Sharath has given the Vizag organisers, who are hosting a national ranking event after 28 years, a big shot in the arm.
Sathiyan who won his season's first title at Rajkot just a week ago, will have his task cut out as Sanil Shetty, Jubin Kumar of PSPB and Gujarat's Devesh Karia will also be at his throat in the men's singles category.
In the women's singles, Suthirtha, already with three silverwares this season, will give her best shot as will the likes of Manika Batra, Madhurika Patkar and Pooja Sahasrabudde.
It has been a big struggle for former national champions like Mouma Das and K. Shamini and Poulomi Ghatak in recent times but they can be expected to put up a fight.
The performances of several young players will be keenly followed.
Manav Thakkar, Ananth Devarajan, Ronit Bhanja, Birdie Boro and Snehit Suravajjula in the youth and junior boys sections and Archana Kamath, Anusha Kutumbale, Varuni Jaiswal, Moumita Datta and Prapti Sen in the girls category will be in focus.
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