Thursday, December 2

Table tennis player hits home, finally

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Cooped up at a house in faraway Spain amid the lockdown and rising number of coronavirus cases, Siliguri resident Takeme Sarkar dabbled in cooking and watched movies to while away time.

The 27-year-old had nobody to talk with or hit the table tennis board together.

It was only on Monday evening that the national ranking table tennis player could reach her hometown.

Quarantined at her home in Surya Sen Colony here, Takeme spoke about the extra days she had to spend in Spain because of Covid-19 and the resultant lockdown.

“I had gone to Spain in the middle of February to participate in the Spanish table tennis league. The league commenced on February 22 and I played a couple of matches. Suddenly on March 7, the Spanish Table Tennis Federation postponed the matches because of the pandemic, and since then, I had been stuck at the accommodation provided by the organisers,” she said.

The player was representing Hotel Museo Patria Chica, a table tennis club in Spain. The player was in Priego De Cordoba, which is in Andalusia of Spain and around 600km from capital Madrid.

Takeme is ranked 13th among women table tennis players in India.

“When the lockdown was enforced, we did not have any other option but to stay indoors. There were two paddlers from Hungary with me initially. When they went back to their country on April 2, I was left alone,” Takeme said.

She could not venture outside the club compound because of the shutdown.

“I used to keep myself busy by cooking new dishes. Otherwise, I would spend time by watching movies and reading books. As there was no other table tennis player around, I could not practise,” said Takeme.

Takeme was supposed to take the return flight from Madrid on March 24 but air travel was suspended because of the lockdown.

“As the days passed, I communicated with the Indian Embassy in Spain. Finally, I could board a Delhi-bound flight on May 31. It was a relief for me and my parents in Siliguri, who were concerned about my well-being in Spain,” she said.

Takeme landed in New Delhi on June 1 morning. After undergoing medical screening and tests, she boarded a Bagdogra-bound plane the same day.

“Even though I have to stay in home quarantine for two weeks, it is a relief that I am finally back at home after spending almost three months virtually in solitude,” said Takeme.


Source: The Telegraph

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