Profile: Ankita Das
Ankita Das did what top paddlers from the country could not. Battling against the odds, Ankita Das qualified for the Olympics ahead of seasoned campaigners.
Sport: Table tennis
Event: Women's singles
About Ankita Das:
Neither Poulomi Ghatak nor Mouma Das were able to make the cut for the Olympics but ranked fourth in table tennis in India, Ankita Das was the surprise package to become the only female paddler to book a ticket for London. Sometimes, they say, the odds against which one battles makes them tough.
Ankita and Soumyajit Ghosh were picked in 2010 by the International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF) for a Scholarship programme. ITTF had in mind 2016 Olympics back then but both the youngsters defied all odds to qualify for the 2012 Games.
May be her family did not want Ankita to train in Sweden but she gave all her heart and energies to prepare in hometown, Siliguri. Former national champion Mantu Ghosh's academy became Ankita's training ground where all her efforts grew by the day.
Born on 17th July 1993, Ankita has been on the rise ever since the table tennis racket and the table have become her life. She has been the national champion across all age groups. In the World Cadet Championship in 2007, she won the Gold. The biggest turnaround came in 2011 when Ankita, an unseeded player, made it to the quarter-final of the Junior World Championship, smashing some higher ranked players in her quest.
The Olympics will be her first big international even though, having not played in either the Asian Games or Commonwealth Games.
Ankita beat Mouma Das in the Olympics trials and thus grabbed the chance to play in the South Asian qualifiers. Poulomi Ghatak and K Shamini, though, stood firmly in her way as the top ranked Indians. Beating all odds though, she made it to London.
She might have started ping-pong by chance as a kid, when her father was advised that Ankita should start playing some sport. Time pass became worthwhile later on and as they say, the rest is history.
Previous Olympics: None