Ghosh and Manika Batra qualify for Rio Olympics

Soumyajit Ghosh and Manika Batra qualifed for the Rio Olympics by finishing first in the South Asian quota of the Asian Olympic table tennis tournament held in Hong Kong on Wednesday.

Soumyajit Ghosh has qualified for his second Olympic Games.   -  G. Ramakrishna

Soumyajit Ghosh and Manika Batra qualifed for the Rio Olympics by finishing first in the South Asian quota of the Asian Olympic table tennis tournament held in Hong Kong on Wednesday.

In the all-Indian men’s league comprising Sharath Kamal, Antony Amalraj and Harmeet Desai, Ghosh defeated all three to finish with six points.

India’s top paddler Sharath lost to Amalraj and Ghosh to end up in second place. And in the all-Indian women’s league (Mouma Das, K. Shamini, Pooja Sahasrabuddhe), there was a two-way tie between Manika Batra and K. Shamini as both had two wins and a loss each. However, Manika went through by virtue of defeating Shamini in the league.

“It’s a special feeling to qualify for my second successive Olympics,” said Ghosh from Hong Kong. “I have been preparing for this for a long time. Beating Desai, Ghosh said was “emotional” and drubbing Amalraj, the reigning National champion 4-0, according to Ghosh was “surprising as Amalraj had just beaten Sharath earlier and had defeated me in the National championship.”

Ghosh expressed confidence that Sharath, too, will qualify for the Olympics. “It is 99 per cent sure that he will make it (through the Olympic rankings). It will be good for me as he could share his rich experience.”