She has been winning hearts in the national circuit, and now Chennai-based table tennis prodigy Mathan Rajan Hansini has made a mark in her first-ever appearance at an International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF) junior circuit event. The 10-year-old clinched the bronze medal in the Mini-Cadet Girls’ Singles category at the Swedish Junior and Cadet Open in Orebro on Saturday, putting up an impressive performance.

Known for her rapid strides, Hansini started her challenging campaign with a couple of wins in the group stages but ultimately lost to Russia’s Iuliia Pugovkina 12-10, 9-11, 5-11, 8-11 in a dominating semi-final match. Until she went down in semis, a few championing knocks put her name in the spotlight. In the main draw, she beat Russia’s Aleksandra Bokova 12-10, 9-11, 9-11, 3-11 in the Round of 16 and notched up a commanding 11-3, 12-10, 11-9 win over Isha Bajpai of the USA in the quarter-finals.

Key Takeaways:

  • Chennai’s table tennis player Mathan Rajan Hansini put up an impressive performance by bagging the bronze medal in the Mini-Cadet Girls’ Singles category at the Swedish Junior and Cadet Open in Orebro on Sunday.
  • The Class V student made an impressive mark in her first-ever appearance at an International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF) junior circuit event.
  • Hansini trains under Muralidhara Rao at the Ultimate Table Tennis (UTT)-backed SDAT AKG Table Tennis Development Centre in Chennai.

A champion paddler, in the making

Hansini is a Class V student in Chennai, trains under Muralidhara Rao, an experienced coach to top paddlers in the country such as Sharath Kamal and K Shamini. At such an early age, Hansini eyes big and is already a 2028 Olympic medal prospect. She has been training rigorously to hone the skills at the Ultimate Table Tennis (UTT)-backed SDAT AKG Table Tennis Development Centre in Chennai. “One day Hansini came to watch her cousin play in the academy. I gave her a bat asking her to play and the way she was returning the ball impressed me. As a table tennis expert coach, I felt that this girl has the potential to make it big so I asked her mother to put her in the academy. Soon she proved it by becoming U-10 champion within one year and then clinched U-12 title too. We are targeting 2028 Olympics and we look at Hansini as one of the strong medal prospects,” Muralidhara said.

She also won a bronze medal in cadet girls’ singles at the 2019 UTT 81st National Table Tennis Championships. Meanwhile, in the Cadet Girls’ Singles section, another of India’s upcoming talents, Suhana Saini reached the Round of 16 while in the Cadet Boys’ Singles section, rising star Suresh Raj Preyesh too made it to the pre-quarters.

This is the first time Hansini made an appearance in the International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF) junior circuit event and has successfully managed to win hearts.

No 1 in the U-12

The year started on a high note for the prodigy and she will continue in the upcoming season as India No 1 in the U-12 category.

READ: Look Beyond Cricket, Our Sportswomen Are Winning Golds!

Feature Image Credit: Pennews

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