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Thursday, September 16, 2021

Manika Batra: India’s top woman paddler hopes to open Olympic account

Currently ranked 61st in the world, Manika Batra will take on Great Britain’s Ho Tin Tin who is ranked 99th in the opening match of the women's singles event at the Tokyo Olympics.

By: Sports Desk |
July 24, 2021 10:33:33 am
Manika Batra is a Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna and Arjuna Award winner.

Milestone: Women’s singles gold medal in the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games and the bronze medal in mixed doubles at the 2018 Asiad

At Olympics: 2016 Rio Games

Parents: Sushma Batra, Girish Batra

The nearly 6 feet tall Manika Batra has been the cynosure of all eyes on and off the courts. The 26-year-old table tennis player from Delhi appeared on the covers of niche magazines after becoming the first Indian woman to win gold in the singles event at the 2018 Commonwealth Games. And partnering A Sharath Kamal, she bagged a bronze medal in the Jakarta Asiad proving again that her CWG triumph is not a flash in the pan.

Now that she has got another chance to enhance her reputation at the ongoing Tokyo Olympic Games. From Saturday at Tokyo Metropolitan Gymnasium where table tennis events begin, she will be competing in women’s singles and mixed doubles.

Currently ranked No. 61 in the World, Manika will take on Great Britain’s Ho Tin Tin who is ranked 99 in the opening match of the women’s singles event. The Indian had beaten the Brit in the only time they clashed at the 2015 Commonwealth Championships in Surat.

If she sails past the first hurdle, Margaryta Pesotska of Ukraine (No. 36) and Sofia Polcanova of Austria (No. 17) are the opponents waiting for the Indian in the next two rounds.

While in the mixed doubles again partnering Sharath, the pair will take on third-seeded Lin Yun-Ju and Cheng I-Chin of Taipei of Chinese Taipei in the first-round match also on Saturday.

The Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna and Arjuna Award winner was initiated into the game by her siblings – sister Anchal and brother Sahil – and coached by Sanjay Gupta at Hans Raj till 2019. She later shifted base from Delhi to Pune to be with her personal coach Sanmay Paranjape.

Manika has vowed to do everything to make India proud in her second Olympic appearance.

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