Table tennis with robots
Table tennis: The ball is coming from the side of the table. Forehand drive, sometimes volleys, sometimes smashing Sonam Sultana. Table tennis player Sonam’s opponent is not a man, he is playing with a robot!
The robot looks a lot like a cricket bowling machine. But small in size. The bowling machine used for practicing table tennis is called a robot machine. Such a mechanical opponent of table tennis is not seen in Bangladesh.
This head robot made with Korean technology can throw 130 balls per minute. Sonam can practice 12 types of shots with the help of this. Chop, cut, smash, forehand drive, backhand drive, forehand push, backhand push, volley, half volley, overhead, drop shot, lobe — it is doubtful whether so many shots could have been played with a tough opponent. Before leaving for Australia in 2014, Syed Kamrul Huda, former general secretary of the Table Tennis Federation, presented the robot to Sonam. Sonam has placed this robot on one side of the gymnasium at her home in Dhanmondi.
He has been playing with the robot for about seven years. The robot sometimes breaks down while playing. Sonam recently said, ‘Occasionally he gets a little upset. Can’t give the ball the way it needs to. Then I realized that something was wrong. When my husband started servicing, he (the robot) started working again. ‘
It is not always possible for Sonam to go and practice at the Shaheed Tajuddin Indoor Stadium in Paltan due to the busy schedule of the family. The robot has become his practice companion, ‘Having the robot at home is very convenient to practice. I practice during the day, I often play at 11-midnight. ‘Not only Sonam, but his son Abu Sufian is also getting success by playing with robots. Once he became a champion in interschool table tennis by practicing robot.
Sonam, daughter of TT’s fertile land Narail, got married to table tennis coach Mohammad Ali in 2004. Without her husband’s encouragement and support, her career might have ended long ago, “I’ve been playing for so many days with my family, it’s just for my husband.”
Sonam has won 61 trophies in her 25-year career. Many of them practice with robots. However, his success began at an early age. He has won gold medals in the national children’s competition four times in a row since 1998. He has won gold in the national junior five times. She won the women’s singles four times in the national championship. He also won gold once in Bangladesh Games. The table tennis girl, who won silver at the 2003 South Asian Junior Championships at BKSP, was also part of the bronze-winning team at the 2010 South Asian Games in Dhaka. She also played for the bronze-winning women’s doubles team in Kathmandu in 2019. Sonam has made a big contribution in bringing Abahani title seven times in the Premier League. He has been the eight-time champion in the Federation Cup. Trimukut won the national championship in 2003.
Handcuffs on TT holding uncle’s hand. And there was the encouragement of the mother. Sonam said, ‘My mother has played a big role in my coming so far. Father’s support was not so much. Dad never wanted boys to dress like girls. I don’t remember my father ever standing and watching my game for five minutes. But after a while, my father was also proud of me. ‘