Ill health forces Manika Batra to withdraw from Commonwealth Table Tennis Championship

Consequently, there will be a redraw of the women's singles, doubles and mixed doubles ties.

Manika Batra

Manika Batra in action during the Commonwealth Table Tennis Championship in Cuttack   -  Biswaranjan Rout

Despite leading India’s women paddlers to a historic first gold medal in the 21st Commonwealth Table Tennis Championship, Manika Batra carried a mixed bag of emotions while cheering her male counterparts in their final versus England.

While Batra, the only survivor from India’s loss to Singapore in the final the tournament’s last edition in 2015, was thrilled to avenge the loss with a sterling performance despite being down with a viral infection, she had a tinge of disappointment on her face. After all, the bug had forced her to withdraw from all the individual events.

“I am very sad because I really wanted to play and win but I didn’t know that this (infection) will happen. But it’s okay as I have to take care of my health as well,” said Batra. “I pushed myself in the teams (championship) and we won, so I am happy after winning a gold medal in teams.”

Read: Balancing between career and passion: The Danisha Patel story

It was evident on Thursday night that Manika won’t be able to take the arena in the individuals. While it was made official on Friday morning, Manika participated in the team championship semis and final and maintained her clean slate to make it a smooth sailing for the team.

“I had headache since the day before the tournament but thought that was normal. Then I developed cough and fever and I felt really dizzy and weak, so had to take the unfortunate decision,” she said. “But I am glad I could push for the team events. When I see the letters “INDIA” on the jersey, it spurs me on to give my best. I hung on and fought for the team to win. It was very difficult for me to adjust physically but I fought for the country’s medal and now I wish to recover fast.”

While Batra would hope to recover in time for the third edition of the Ultimate Table Tennis week, starting in her hometown New Delhi, her pull-out would result in she missing out on precious match-time with veteran A. Sharath Kamal in mixed doubles. The pair is in contention to qualify for the next year’s Olympic.

“I have spoken to Sharath bhaiya and he has understood since I am not well. Also, we have more chances in the coming Pro Tour events to team up and tune better for the Olympics . We are both working towards it (qualification) and I hope we can do the best for the country,” she said.