Exclusive: Hard work, consistency and patience is the key to success says, India’s young table tennis star Manav Thakkar

Manav Thakkar, the rising Indian table tennis star, who hails from Surat, Gujarat cherished spending quality time with the family after a long time while being at home amid COVID-19 pandemic.

Manav Thakkar, the rising Indian table tennis star, who hails from Surat, Gujarat cherished spending quality time with the family after a long time while being at home amid COVID-19 pandemic.

“I was doing fitness during this time and little bit service practice on TT table at home. I used to read for my exam and in free time. We watched movies, and after 8 long years I got a chance to stay with my family, so had a quality family time,” the current World no.1, Manav Thakkar, expressed his feelings with Prag News.

Thakkar had become the first Indian paddler to be ranked U-21 World No. 1 in January. Before that, he was also the first Indian to be ranked World No. 1 in the U-18 category.
Manav is one among the rare names in India to be the youngest successful table tennis player ever and is consistently proving by his freaking performances at International level to be the deserving paddler.

Consistency in Strength and Conditioning training is vital.

Manav feels great to get his training done at Pinnacle table tennis Academy, Delhi during pandemic under his training coach, Deepak Malik and fitness trainer, Gaurav Sharma. He expressed his gratitude to the club and coaches for improving him a lot.

“Earlier when I was doing my Strength and Conditioning(S&C) training under one of India’s best, Ramji Srinivasan, I was not mentally prepared for and to adapt advanced level training so soon. Also, travelling to Chennai again n again was quite difficult for me as it’s very far and ultimately I would want everything to be streamlined at one place only.

Now for last 6 months I have been consistently training under my personal fitness trainer, Gaurav Sharma, at Pinnacle table tennis Academy, Delhi, run by coach Deepak Malik, and I actually felt a huge difference in my physical strength and fitness level, I have improved a lot by then, and I am really thankful to my coaches for this,” says 19-year-old prodigy, Manav Thakkar.

“If I am in India, I will surely be training over here in Pinnacle academy only, as for last six-years I am staying in the hostel, the kids are of my age only, so it’s like a familiar thing for me, so I feel great to be trained here. I feel strength and conditioning training is very much vital alongside on court tt training equally, now I am very much focused in my training, and I am going continue this as a part of my daily routine,” he added.

Manav in action at UTT(Ultimate table tennis league)

These days Manav is conspicuously focused on his physical fitness training and adhere to his motive. He strongly believes that fitness is as important as skills or technique to be a successful paddler.

“Skill is also very important but at same time if you have good training, you can execute it well because the generation of power, speed and quality everything depends on your fitness as well as your skill.
If you are physically fit but you don’t have the skills then you can’t execute it in right direction at right time. I have good skills with great technique but I have to work more on my fitness to achieve my aim and I am already working hard for it,”
said Asian Games medallist, Manav Thakkar.

Asked about the national camp which is going to be held in Bangalore next month, Manav sounds positive and interested, he said “I think it’s right time to start the training, and I’m very keen to join the training camp, and I know many players are still not ready… but ya hopefully soon federation will come up with some plans to organise events and camps”.

Meanwhile discussing about his family time and training, Manav Thakkar discussed more about the vitality of Strength and Conditioning training to be a successful athlete and also shared his next target in an exclusive interview with Vishal Sharma

Excerpts from the Interview:

Vishal Sharma: How have you been Manav. How are you doing at the Moment?

Manav Thakkar: I am absolutely fine. Presently, I am at the Pinnacle table tennis academy, Delhi for training under my coaches Deepak Malik and Gaurav Sharma.

Vishal Sharma: How your time has been spent while being at home amid pandemic? Enjoyed with family though I know you were involved in training as well as you have personal tt table?

Manav Thakkar: I was at home at Surat from mid March after playing Oman Open. Initially I was in quarantine for 15 Days. I was at home taking rest. I reached home after long time due to busy schedule of training and tournaments. I had a great time with my family. I was doing fitness during this time and little bit service practice on TT table at home. I used to read for my exam and in free time we watched movies. After 8 long years I got a chance to stay with my family so had a quality family time.

Vishal Sharma: What is the situation right now at your place? Are you able to practice? Is proper training possible now or not still?

Manav Thakkar: Right now I am in Delhi for practice since last 2 weeks. I am doing training with my Coach Deepak Malik and doing fitness with my Physio Gaurav Sharma at Academy in Delhi.

Vishal Sharma: Who is your personal Coach at present and also which club you practice as of now?

Manav Thakkar: Deepak Malik is only my personal coach as of now and I am practising at Pinnacle table tennis academy supported by TTF(table tennis foundation), Delhi.

Manav with his personal coach Deepak Malik

Vishal Sharma: Share your current training Schedule with us. What sort of exercise you do in daily routine?

Manav Thakkar: Currently I am practicing in two schedule Morning and Evening.
• Morning 6:30-9:30 practice
• Afternoon 2:30-4:30 fitness
• Evening 5-8 practice

I am doing exercise to improve power of my strokes and also improve my movement around table.

Vishal Sharma: Share your opinion on TTFI decision regarding camp at Bangalore prior to National Championship which may happen November onwards later this year. Why only three players are willing and not others?

Manav Thakkar: As currently Cases of COVID-19 increases day by day .TTFI /SAI could not able to organise national camps due to strict government guidelines. Safety of players coming from different states are also a major consideration. Due to fear in contracting disease players are not willing to participate in training camps up till now. But As situation becomes better, we again catch up our routine training and preparation for tournaments.

Manav Thakkar with his fitness trainer Gaurav Sharma at Pinnacle tt Academy

Vishal Sharma: According to you what’s more vital to be a successful player on court table tennis training for long hours or peculiar physical fitness training or may be both equally?

Manav Thakkar: Long hours of on table practice along with proper physical fitness required for a successful TT discipline hard work and patience is also the key as success will not come the very next day..

Vishal Sharma: How much strength and conditioning training matters for you ? What is your strategy and methodology nowadays? Share some tips as well.

Manav Thakkar: Strength and Conditioning help me a lot to improve my game. It help to improve power of my strokes. Also help to improve my movement around table and my speed and improve my posture as well and also the quality increases and you can have a great impact.

Vishal Sharma: I came to know that from the last one year you have been using tech based app, Stupa Analytics, tell us about how does it helped you In enhancing your playing performance and analyse your errors?

Manav Thakkar: Yes, I am using Stupa Analytics since last one Year. It is very helpful it helps me planning my strategy against particular opponent. This app tells us strength and weakness of opponent in advance, so I can plan my strategy accordingly. It also gives idea of my weakness, so I work hard in that area to improve my weakness and also use my strength in a right way also it helps to design our fitness and training.

Vishal Sharma: So, what is your main aim or I say big target ahead of Nationals. What’s the future plan for your sporting career?

Manav Thakkar: I want to prepare myself for the big tournaments like Olympic Games, Asian Games, Commonwealth Games. I want to represent India and want to win medals for the country. I want to improve my international World ranking and want to repeat my performance in Senior levels like junior and youth world ranking.

Manav is having his B.A(English) 2nd-year examinations this month from 21st September onwards and he is taking a break from training. Leaving Delhi next week, although Manav is little worried how it is going to be conducted as he will have to appear in the centre and there are many COVID-19 cases day by day, it’s a drastic increment in positive cases in India, so Manav is bit more concerned about his health and right after the examinations he will be back to the Pinnacle TT Academy around 1st of Oct for training and his next big goal is to breakthrough in the top 100 of seniors World ranking for which he is training hard day n night.

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Vishal Sharma

Vishal Sharma is a Delhi based sports journalist. An enthusiast who loves to travel and explore things around. He analysis sports and observe in-depth manner. He is a news and features writer on several online publications. His life is all around sports. Some of his hobbies are blogging, singing, research, travelling and meet geeks. He is a Wikipedian too.

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