Swastika Ghosh became the fourth Indian to qualify for the World Table Tennis Championship after beating Chinese Taipei’s Liu Hsing-Yin to be among the 28 women singles qualifiers from the Asian Continental Stage of 2023 WTTC Finals in Doha on Wednesday.
Ranked a distant 243, Swastika punched way above her weight to bring down 70th-ranked Liu 4-11, 11-7, 2-11, 3-11, 11-9, 11-9, 11-9 in the playoff for 17 to 24 places.
Swastika joins Sreeja Akula, Manika Batra and Sharath Kamal, who made it by finishing among the top-16 from the continent.
Since only a maximum of four players from a nation are permitted in the World championship, to be played in Durban from May 20, Diya Chitale and Reeth Rishya still have a chance to fight for the fourth spot.
On Wednesday, in the playoffs for 17-24 places, Korea’s Lee Zion defeated Chitale 4-1 and Thailand’s Jinnipa Sawettabut stopped Reeth 4-2.
Chitale and Reeth are placed in the same quarter of the draw. In the playoffs for 25-28 spots, they could face each other. Before that, Chitale will have to beat Hong Kong’s Ng Wing Lam and Reeth must overcome Korea’s Choi Hyojoo on Thursday.
In the men’s singles, where 25 spots were up for grabs, Harmeet Desai is still in the hunt for the last spot.
On Thursday morning, Harmeet faces Singapore’s Izaac Quek, who defeated G. Sathiyan in the campaign-opener, for a place in the 25-28 places playoff. Should he win, Harmeet will have to win two more matches to snatch the 25th spot.
In men’s doubles, Sharath and Sathiyan made it among the 14 qualified pairs after beating Qatar’s Mohammad Abdulwahhab and Ahmad Khalil Al-Mohannadi 11-5, 11-0, 11-9, 11-8.
Similarly, in women’s doubles, Sreeja and Reeth defeated Singapore’s Goi Rui Xuan and Wong Xin Ru 11-6, 12-10, 13-11, 11-7 to be among the 12 qualifiers.