New Delhi, March 20: Ace Indian paddler Manika Batra on Saturday said that she is elated to withstand the Korean pair attack and secure the Tokyo Olympics berth in the mixed doubles category with her partner Achanta Sharath Kamal.
The World No.19 Indian pair came from behind to stun Korean pair Lee Sangsu and Jeon Jihee 4-2 in the final clash at the Asian Olympic Qualifiers. Indian table tennis duo had made their way into the mixed doubles final at the Asian Olympic Qualification Tournament after defeating Singapore’s Koen Pang Yew En and Lin Ye 4-2 in the last-4 clash in Doha on Friday.
“I was really happy with myself to be able to withstand the attack and services of players like Lee Sangsu and Jeon Jihee. Sharath capitalised well with his attack to keep the pressure on them. I am very happy that along with singles we could even make it by beating the Korean and Singapore pair in the mixed doubles,” Batra told ANI. ISSF World Cup 2021: Divyansh Singh Panwar Opens India’s Account, Wins Bronze in 10m Air Rifle.
“I had worked really hard in Pune. All this could be brought to the table and helped me keep calm when we were down and elevate my game levels for the occasion. I am also very happy to see two women as I had already qualified with the ranking. Somethings are important for the country,” she added.
Sharath and Manika faced a tough challenge in the initial part of the semi-final match as the scores were level at 2-2 after the fourth game. However, the 2018 Asian Games bronze medalist pair managed to hold an edge over the opponent and bagged two successive games to complete a 12-10, 9-11, 11-5, 5-11, 11-8, 13-11 victory in 50 minutes.
Earlier on Thursday, all the four Indian paddlers Sharath, Manika, Gnanasekaran Sathiyan, and Sutirtha Mukherjee earned themselves singles qualification at the 2021 Tokyo Olympics.
Tokyo Olympics is scheduled from July 23-August 8 this year. The Games were scheduled to be held last year but got postponed due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Whereas, the Paralympics will take place from August 24 to September 5.
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