Indian Table Tennis duo Manika Batra, Sharath Kamal secure mixed doubles spot at Tokyo Olympics

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Image Courtesy: PTI
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India’s medal hopes at the upcoming Tokyo Olympic Games just received a huge boost as the star table tennis duo Manika Batra and Sharath Kamal have secured their berth for the grand sporting event!

In the final of the Asian Olympic Qualification Tournament held in Doha on Saturday, Manika Batra and Sharath Kamal defeated Lee Sangsu and Jeon Jihee with a final score of 4-2 after coming from behind to thrash the Korean duo.

The Indian pair, currently ranked 19th in the world, were coming with massive confidence into the final after winning against Singapore’s Koen Pang Yew En and Lin Ye 4-2 on Friday.

“Really happy to have qualified for Tokyo Olympics in the mixed doubles. Thank you everyone for all the support and motivation,” Batra, who has also secured a spot in the singles, tweeted following the victory.

The two-time Commonwealth Games gold medallist and Asian Games bronze medallist paddler, Batra earned her women’s singles spot along with compatriot Sutirtha Mukherjee after the two clashed at the women’s singles event in Doha on Thursday.

While Mukherjee, who is current world no 95, defeated Batra 4-2 (7-11, 11-7, 11-4, 4-11, 11-5, 11-4) and sealed her maiden Olympics berth, Batra’s singles qualification came on the basis of her #65 global rank.

Sharath Kamal, on the other hand, who has secured a singles spot for the Japanese capital along with G Sathiyan as well, is eyeing his fourth Olympics appearance. The four-time Commonwealth gold medallist earlier represented India at Athens 2004, Beijing 2008, and Rio 2016 and only missed the London Olympics in 2012.

On Thursday, Kamal defeated Pakistan’s Rameez Muhammad 4-0 (11-4, 11-1, 11-5, 11-4) in just 22 minutes, after losing the previous clash to Sathiyan the top-ranked Indian men’s singles player qualified by topping the group.

“It was a good match against Sathiyan but I made some errors and he capitalised on them to win the match,” Kamal said after his win over Rameez, “I was a bit nervous before playing against Rameez as I had never faced him before. But after the first few games I was confident that my strategy was working and I executed it well to maintain control.”

“I have achieved the best rankings of my career and it’s a huge sigh of relief especially the way this year has been. Though this will be my fourth Olympics, it will be my best Olympic Games,” the world no 41 added.

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