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Manika Batra-Sathiyan Gnanasekaran crashes out of table tennis mixed doubles Olympic qualifiers

Published at :April 12, 2024 at 9:11 PM
Modified at :May 7, 2024 at 11:56 AM
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(Courtesy : NDTV Sports)

Ajay Gandhar

The Indian duo went down against Javen Choong and Karen Lyne.

India’s hopes of sending a mixed doubles pair to the 2024 Paris Olympics were dashed on Friday as the duo of Sathiyan Gnanasekaran and Manika Batra crashed out of the Table Tennis World Mixed Doubles Olympic Qualification tournament in Havirov, Czechia.

The 18th-ranked Indian pair went down 4-1 (11-9, 11-9, 11-9, 7-11, 11-8) against the unheralded Malaysian combo of Javen Choong and Karen Lyne in the quarterfinals. This was their second and final attempt to book a Paris quota after suffering a quarter-final exit in the first knockout round on Thursday.

Sathiyan and Batra started as the eighth seeds but failed to live up to the billing, undone by a combination of inconsistent play and the brilliance of 153rd-ranked Choong. The Malaysian was exceptionally quick and dominated proceedings with his blistering forehand top-spin strokes that had the Indian duo searching for answers.

The failure compounds the Indian contingent’s woes after the North Korean pair of Ri Jong Sik and Kim Kum Yong knocked out Sathiyan and Batra in the first quarterfinals on Thursday.

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India have already ensured Paris quotas for their women’s and men’s teams based on rankings, which also guarantees two singles entries each for their male and female players. However, their hopes of having a mixed doubles representative at the Olympics have been dashed.

The duo can still make it to Paris based on the May 7 world rankings, where the top five eligible pairs will get quotas (not already qualified and from a country different from those already qualified). But with their current 18th ranking, the road appears an arduous one for Sathiyan and Batra.

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