Olympic Review catches up with Olympic Solidarity scholarship holders as they target London 2012. The North Bengal teenager Soumyajit Ghosh became the first Indian to medal in the World Junior Table Tennis Championships in 2010. Having since helped India win the junior boys’ team bronze, Ghosh is hoping his Olympic Solidarity scholarship will lead to further success.
When did you first start to get involved with table tennis?
I took up table tennis as a hobby when I was five years old.
How has the Olympic Solidarity programme helped you?
The programme has helped me lot. The Olympic Solidarity scholarship enabled me to travel to Falkenberg, in Sweden, to train under [former doubles world and European champion] Peter Karlsson and play at the Falkenberg club with some other good players. Without the scholarship it would have been difficult to cover those costs.
How did training in Sweden help you develop as a player?
I tried my best during the training sessions with Peter Karlsson. Our hard work and Peter’s good advice – as well as a lot of support from the Table Tennis Federation of India – helped us win the team bronze at the World Junior Championships in 2011. I also won bronze in the World Junior Championships in 2010. Those medals have been the highlight of my sporting career so far.
What are your targets for the future?
My target is to play consistently in the top 20 in the world rankings.
Who were your Olympic heroes when you were growing up?
My favourite hero is [Sweden’s former Olympic, world and European champion] Jan-Ove Waldner. I think he is the best table tennis player ever.
Do you use social media to keep in touch with people?
Yes, I use social networking to make friends and stay in touch with family, friends and fans.
Olympic Solidarity is the body that ensures that talented athletes, regardless of their financial status, have an equal chance of reaching the Olympic Games and succeeding in the Olympic arena.
It is responsible for administering and managing the National Olympic Committees’ share of the revenue from the sale of broadcasting rights to the Olympic Games.
Working in particular with the most disadvantaged NOCs and their Continental Associations, Olympic Solidarity uses this money to develop a range of assistance programmes.
Within its total budget, USD 61 million is earmarked to provide support to athletes for the 2009-2012 Olympic Solidarity quadrennial period.