Batra-Gnanasekaran eyes for Paris quota at World Olympic Qualification event


India’s top table tennis mixed doubles pair, Sathiyan Gnanasekaran and Manika Batra (Batra-Gnanasekaran) are setting their sights on the Paris 2024 Olympics. Their journey to secure a spot in the prestigious event will culminate at the World Mixed Doubles Olympic Qualification event in Havirov, Czechoslovakia.

A final opportunity for Batra-Gnanasekaran

The two-day tournament, scheduled for April 11 and 12, will be the final opportunity for the Batra-Gnanasekaran duo to seal a spot at the Paris 2024 Olympics. The tournament will see 26 pairs taking part, and in the end, four teams will qualify for the Olympics.

Batra and Gnanasekaran are currently ranked 17th in the ITTF World Rankings. For Olympic qualification, they will have to be one of the four teams that emerge as the winners of the four knockout rounds in Havirov. As of now, six pairs have qualified thanks to their country ranking at the top in their respective continental events. The top five pairs in the world ranking, apart from the ones who have earned their spot already, will also make it to Paris. As the host nation, France would also have a mixed doubles team of its own.

The 26 teams in the world qualifying event will be divided into two halves for the first set of knockouts, with the winner from each half progressing to the Olympics, on the opening day of the tournament. The remaining 24 teams will have to compete for the remaining two spots. On the second day, the pairs will get seeded based on the first day’s performance, and they will again be divided into two halves.

The two-day event will be intense. Physically, it is going to be exhausting, but we have been preparing for this challenge for quite some time. Our mixed doubles form has improved in recent times. After a poor start to the season, the former top-5 pair is slowly getting back into the groove. They finished runners-up at the WTT Feeder II in Beirut recently, helping them gain much-needed momentum.

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