The Indian paddlers will look to improve their form in the upcoming tournmanets.
At the recently concluded Tokyo Olympics, Indian table tennis faced some of the toughest challenges. A total of four Indian paddlers qualified for the Olympic Games namely- Manika Batra, Sathiyan Gnanasekaran, Sharath Kamal, and Sutirtha Mukherjee. While India’s strongest hope, Manika Batra was brushed aside in the third round, Sutirtha Mukherjee faced defeat in the second round. Likewise, the maiden Olympic journey for Sathiyan Gnanasekaran also ended in the second round.
The mixed doubles pair of Manika Batra-Sharath Kamal were ousted in the Round of 16. Sharath Kamal showed some promise, but failed against eventual gold medalist Ma Long in the third round. Time and again, the Indian table tennis players have fallen short of expectations at the quadrennial event.
However, with the Tokyo Olympics in the past, all the Indian paddlers would be looking to prove their mettle at the upcoming tournaments. Here are the table tennis tournaments which count towards world ranking points:
Asian Table Tennis Championships (Men & Women)
The Asian Table Tennis Championship is a biennial table tennis tournament organized by the Asian Table Tennis Union. It will be held from September 28 to October 5 in Doha, Qatar. It will be the second time that Qatar will host the championship, it previously staged in 2000.
China have pulled out of the tournament as it clashes with their National Games. Therefore, India has a strong chance of winning a medal. The national camp for the championships has already begun earlier this month in Sonepat. Meanwhile, Manika Batra, G Sathiyan, Sutirtha Mukherjee will not be a part of the championship due to personal reasons.
WTT Contender Series
The World Table Tennis, a new wing under the ITTF is all set to conduct the WTT Star Contender tournament this month. Players will compete against each other for ITTF world ranking points. Earlier, the mixed doubles pair of Manika Batra and G Sathiyan clinched the mixed doubles title at the WTT Contender Budapest event held in August.
Meanwhile, the WTT Star Contender will be held from 20-25 September in Doha.
Two men’s doubles pairs from India will be a part of the series, namely- Manav Vikash Thakkar & Harmeet Desai, G. Sathiyan & Amalraj Anthony. Moreover, Manika Batra will team up again with G. Sathiyan for the mixed doubles event. The duo will try to maintain the same form as they did in the previous contender series.
World Table Tennis Championships
The World Table Tennis Championships will be held between November 23 and November 29, 2021. Interestingly, the event will be held in the United States for the very first time, in Houston. The individual and team events are held differently for both men and women.
Earlier, the championship was postponed last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
All the Indian paddlers will gear up for the upcoming 2022 Commonwealth Games, which is slated to be held in Birmingham, England. The Games will take place from 28 July to 8 August 2022. Indian paddlers have shone at the Commonwealth Games many times. Therefore, after a disappointing Olympic season, they will look forward with hope to raise the country’s flag at the multi-sport event.
India won a total of 66 medals at the previous edition of the Commonwealth Games. Indian table tennis players ended the campaign with three gold, two silver and three bronze medals. They will try to continue their terrific record at the event.
The 2022 Asian Games will be held in Hangzhou, Zhejiang, China between September 10 to September 15, 2022. Moreover, Hangzhou will be the third Chinese city to host the multi-sport event. India will be a part of the Games and the Indian paddlers will look to elevate their medal tally in the upcoming edition.
Till now, India have won only two bronze medals in table tennis at the Asian Games, courtesy Manika Batra and Sharath Kamal’s mixed doubles bronze at the 2018 edition. Apart from Manika Batra and Sharath Kamal, other Indian paddlers will also look to win medals at the event.