Indian table tennis stalwarts Manika Batra and G. Sathiyan are heading into the upcoming 36th National Games as the No. 1 seeds in women’s and men’s singles categories respectively.
A decision from the jury, comprised of T G Upadhya, A S Kler, and Anil Dubey, was made on Tuesday, with Sathiyan and Manika beating Sharath Kamal and Akula Sreeja to secure the top spot in the men’s and women’s singles, pushing both the national champions down to the second spots.
In the recent Birmingham Commonwealth Games, Sharath went on to win four medals, including three golds, but his world ranking at No. 43 pushed him down a rung. In contrast, Sathiya, ranked 37, is the number one Indian in the world.
In the same way, Manika also benefited from the same rule, as she is now ranked 45, while Sreeja is ranked 77. National rankings were put ahead of world rankings for seeding by the jury.
Manika, who clinched four medals including two two gold at the 2018 CWG, disappointed at the 2022 edition. However, the 27-year-old has vowed to make a strong comeback at the National Games.
“Of course, I was sad and upset when I lost my matches in CWG but I always tell myself this is not the end of the world,” said Manika during a virtual interaction, “2018 was really an amazing year for me. This time, I played best before the CWG. I did really well in the World Tours, beat good players.”
“I think I played my best in CWG but every player has ups and down in their lives. It’s not finished for me just because I didn’t get a medal at the CWG,” the top-ranked Indian added. [H/T Sportstar]
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