Vadodara: For the first time in 23 years Jignesh Jayswal will commence his campaign in Men's section of a State Ranking Tournament outside top-8. The former state champion and war-horse are seeded ninth at the Gail Third Gujarat State Ranking Table Tennis Tournament 2018 that commenced here at Sama Indoor Sports Complex.

"It was way back in 1995 when I entered top-eight of Men's section for the first time. Since then it has been a ritual (being in top-3). But now, don't know how to react, but certainly not a good feeling at all," said Jayswal, 39-year-old paddler. For a record 1998 to 2017, Jayswal has finished the season in top-three positions, most of the times in top-two bracket. Going by his 2018 performance, the scenario looks tough to repeat the feat.

Jayswal lost place among the top-8 seeded players because of his second round exit in the second State Ranking Tournament held at Godhra last month. While in the first tournament of the season, he played quarterfinals in Surat.

However, the Bhavnagar-based paddler, who is at the twilight of his career, is more determined than ever before. "Now on, the contest will not be against my opponent, but myself. The young crop is doing well and it's not going to be each passing day, and that is going to be the real challenge. I will be challenging myself," he said.

Winner of the Godhra edition and Bhavnagar's Dharmraj Rana is top-seed in the Men's section with Dhairya Parmar of Ahmedabad at second. Local boy Jalay Mehta and Jagdish Makwana of Bhavnagar complete top-four seeds.

Meanwhile, the day one of the third State Ranking tournament 2018 began with the Men Qualifying rounds. Chitan Oza, Vidit Desai, veteran Malay Parikh and Ayaz Murad among other cleared the qualifying hurdle to advance to the main draw.

In the Women's section, two Surtis, Frenaz Chipia, and Sanskruti Malpani are first and second seed respectively. Two Bhavnagar paddlers Divya Gohil and Namna Jayswal complete the top-four.

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