The manner in which Shivam Ambre of Dr Antonio Da Silva High School (Dadar) paraded his skills at the Mumbai Schools Sports Association (MSSA) inter-school table tennis tournament yesterday, no one would believe that he suffered a serious health issue a little more than a year ago.
Shivam Ambre of Dr Antonio Da Silva High School (Dadar) returns to Rahul Chopra of St Mary's High School (Mazgoan) during the MSSA inter-school table tennis match yesterday. Pic/Shadab Khan
Shivam, who suffered from Ventricular Septal Defect in 2013 (commonly known as hole in the heart), showed no signs of weakness and advanced to the boys' U-14 quarter-finals. Shivam beat Rahul Chopra of St Mary's High School (Mazagoan) 11-9, 13-11, 11-9 and 11-8 in the second round. In the third round, Shivam beat Deepesh Garg 9-11, 11-3, 11-6 and 11-8 at the Rajiv Gandhi Sports Complex, Dharavi yesterday.
Poor health prevented 12-year-old Shivam from attending school in Class V, but his school was very supportive towards the Ambre family and promoted Shivam to Class VI. Shivam only started training with his father Sandip in January. Sandip coaches Fr Agnel School's (Vashi) table tennis team. Shivam's elder brother Shubhum is a top table tennis player too. The Maharshi Dayanand College (Parel) student is Mumbai's No 1 player and is ranked fifth in the state.
"I had participated in the MSSA tournament (boys' U-10) two years ago and lost in the first round. I was unable to play as I started falling sick often. I had to take a break. After I recovered, I asked my father to train me and we practiced for two hours daily which helped me improve. My dad said that it doesn't matter if I win or lose, but I must keep placing the ball well on the table. I train with my brother too," said Shivam.