Four Indian paddlers – Achanta Sharath Kamal, Manika Batra, Gnansekaran Sathiyan, and Sutirtha Mukherjee all qualified for the Tokyo Olympics during the Asian qualification event, this Thursday evening. Sathiyan and Sutirtha will be making their first appearance at the Games, later this year.
All the four Indian Table Tennis players participating in the ongoing Asian Olympic Qualification event were aiming to make the cut to Tokyo. With brilliant individual performances from each in Doha last Thursday, all the paddlers booked individual berths for the mega-event scheduled to start on July 23.
Even though Achanta Sharath Kamal lost to compatriot Gnansekaran Sathiyan in the opening match of the group stage, with scores of 9-11, 13-15, 11-5, 11-7, 12-10, 9-11, 8-11, he still managed to make the cut by edging past Pakistan’s Muhammad Rameez. He ended the match against Rameez in straight sets 11-4, 11-1, 11-5, 11-4 with it lasting a bit over 22 minutes to ensure his fourth appearance at the Olympics.
On the other hand, Gnansekaran Sathiyan qualified for the delayed Games by topping the group with a win over Muhammad Rameez in the final round-robin clash. The Chennai-based player recently won the national championships with a win over Sharath Kamal.
Sutirtha Mukherjee, on the other hand, pulled off an upset against India’s top-ranked player Manika Batra with a 4-2 margin in the one-off match to qualify for her first-ever Olympics. Commonwealth Games gold medallist Manika Batra also secured a quota for the mega-event as the highest-ranked second-placed player in the qualifiers.