Prachi and Kanak Jha first learned how to play table tennis over 5 years ago after being introduced to the sport by their parents. Today, the 17 and 14-year-old table tennis duo from California train at various clubs around the area and are household names for serious American table tennis enthusiasts. Most recently, Prachi finished first in the 2014 Junior National Team Trials held in December, 2014 in Las Vegas after returning from an exceptional performance at the 2014 Wisdom World Junior Championships in Shanghai, China just weeks earlier. Prachi, along with fellow US Junior Team members Lily Zhang, Crystal Wang and Angela Guan took bronze in the team event, winning the first ever medal for the US. Kanak also had an exceptional year, qualifying as the youngest ever 2014 World Cup participant by winning the ITTF North American Cup in June, 2014. Although both players have already accomplished much in their young table tennis careers, they are always looking and preparing for the future.
2015 is a special year for aspiring USA table tennis players, as it includes the Pan-American Games and marks one year before the 2016 Olympic Games. Prachi and Kanak along with other top players from around the country will compete in the Pan Am and National Team Trials in Dallas, TX from March 6-8, 2015, where the top 4 players for men and women will make the national team. To prepare for the trials, Prachi and Kanak will travel to Sweden in February to compete in the 2015 ITTF Swedish Junior and Cadet Open to gain experience against the best youth players in the world. In addition, both players have increased their tournament participation and focused their training on competition strategies both mental and physical. Prachi is especially excited about the potential to compete in the Pan Am Games as it offers a chance for US team members to be real contenders for medals instead of only participants.
Prachi and Kanak cannot imagine their lives without table tennis. The sport has brought their entire family together, and offers endless hours of conversation and excitement around the dinner table. Both players both believe that table tennis has changed their lives for the better, allowing them to travel, compete and experience the world in a way that most teenagers can only imagine. Although brother and sister have represented the US by traveling and competing around the world, they also try to maintain other hobbies to balance out their 6 day a week training schedule. Prachi loves her family dog, and often walks and runs with her to relieve stress, while Kanak is a soccer fan and enjoys following his favorite club team Barcelona.