I sat down and talked with Krish, starting off with his recent win. Slowly turning his paddle in his hand, he said that he had fun at the Nationals because he was able to compete with people who had different styles of paddle and play than he was used to. He pointed out the tiny dots under the rubbery skin of the paddle as an example, calling them “pips.” He explained that “There are short pips and long pips, and players use different ones. They make a difference in how you hit.” I asked if he had felt nervous during the three matches he played to win the title, and he said no: “It’s like I can’t wait to play. I just can’t wait—I just want to play.” He lifts his paddle from the table as he says this; his eyebrows lift above the rims of his glasses in unison.
Krish tells me that he has been playing since 2005, when he was six years old. He says that his favorite thing about table tennis is becoming a “better sport.” He explains “I used to get angry and sad when I lost, but I don’t anymore.” When I ask if the kids at his school know he’s a national champion, he smiles and looks at his hands. “I don’t tell them, but some of my friends know anyways. They’ve seen me on YouTube.”
The pride in his voice is well-deserved: he practices six days a week, for as many as four hours a day. The practice pays off—at this past weekend’s California State Tournament at the ICC, Krish claimed two more victories, Champion in the Boys 11-and-Under category and as a member of the winning team in the U4200 Doubles category.
– Sarah Leavitt
For information on the ICC’s Table Tennis Center and program, please visitwww.indiacc.org/tabletennis.