2016 Rio Olympian and reigning US National Men's Singles Champion Kanak Jha will lead the lineup in the Men's Singles at the 2017 US National Team Trial event from March 23-26 at the Triangle Table Tennis Center in North Carolina. Jha currently sits atop the USATT Top 25 Ranking list though his competition follow closely in the lead and there will be some close contest for the 3 qualification spots for the prestigious 2017 ITTF Leibherr World Table Tennis Championships to be held in Dusseldorf, Germany at the end of May.
Following Kanak's success in 2016 he was been training and competing full time in Sweden at Halmstad BTK where he hopes to follow his aspirations in the sport. A representative in Suzhou, China two years ago, Jha's main focus will be to make the contingent in the hopes of improving on his last performance, this time with the aim of qualifying to the main draw should he succeed in the trial.
When I asked Kanak how he felt about his competition, given that he was spending time overseas and not able to see their progress, he answered as he does each time we have this conversation, "I just need to focus on my own game and not on everybody else." Perhaps this is the key to his success, his incredible ability to shrug off pressure and purely focus on bringing out his best form when it is needed.
On the subject of Suzhou, Kanak remarked on his prior WTTC experience that it was a unique experience to see so many great players from many countries which you wouldn't usually consider", with players coming from all around the globe.
Be sure to tune in as Kanak and a host of other top US players step up to the table to fight for a place on the US National Team. Best of luck to Kanak and the field of competitors, more of which I will be catching up with soon so stay tuned!
Look back at Kanak's US National Championship title, Men's Singles Final!