Madhurika: ‘Defeating Singapore has raised confidence level’

Madhurika, who was a member of the Indian table tennis squad, led by Delhi’s Manika Batra, also expressed optimism that the team would try to perform extremely well in the Asian Games, scheduled in Jakarta, Indonesia, from August 18, in which powerhouses like China, Japan and Korea will be competing.

Madhurika Patkar said that the win against Singapore has instilled a strong belief that it can now defeat any opponent.   -  AFP

The confidence level of the Indian women paddlers has gone up a notch, following the team’s stunning triumph, in the Commonwealth Games (CWG) gold medal contest, against Singapore, at Gold Coast, Australia, team member Madhurika Patkar said, on Thursday.

Madhurika, who was a member of the Indian table tennis squad, led by Delhi’s Manika Batra, also expressed optimism that the team would try to perform extremely well in the Asian Games, scheduled in Jakarta, Indonesia, from August 18, in which powerhouses like China, Japan and Korea will be competing.

“There are big teams, like China, Japan, Korea, Chinese Taipei, Singapore, Hong Kong and North Korea, who participate in the Asian Games. By defeating Singapore (in the CWG), our confidence level has increased. And, we will try to play a similar game or raise our game, for the Asian Games, and perform in the same way,” Madhurika said, here.

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The experienced pair of Madhurika and Mouma Das played the supporting role to perfection, winning the crucial doubles tie, 3-1, against Zhou and Mengyu Yu of Singapore, to provide India with a 2-1 lead, in the CWG gold medal contest.

The 31-year-old former national champion, also said that the win against Singapore, which had never been beaten since the sport’s introduction in the CWG, in 2002, has instilled a strong belief that India can now defeat any opponent.

“Yes, when we have defeated a team which had World No 4 and World No 12, the belief is that we can win against any team that can come up. When hope, self-belief and confidence come together, then only success follows,” she said.

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“Singapore was a strong team, which had World No 4 and World No 12, and to play against such a team was difficult. We had to play very well, to win against them,” she added.

She also heaped praise on Manika, who bagged four medals, including the women’s individual gold. “Manika played very well in the entire tournament. Even, when I and Mouma were playing, she said .... have belief in yourself. She is a simple girl, and she is still down-to-earth, even after her success. In the team event, she played a crucial role and her contribution is huge,” Madhurika said.

With success comes more responsibility, said the experienced paddler, hailing from neighbouring Thane district. “Now, everybody will be following us and there is more responsibility. So, we have to work even harder. Earlier, if we were giving 100 per cent, we may have to give 200 per cent,” she said.

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Madhurika said that the entire Massimo Costantini-coached Indian table tennis squad was eyeing a podium finish, from the beginning.

“Before going to the Games, we had formed a Whatsapp Group ‘Gold at Gold Coast’, made up of players and coaches. We went with that thought, but it (the gold) happened due to self-belief and the team spirit.”

She was inspired after meeting weightlifter Mirabai Chanu, who won India’s first gold at the Games and then wanted to achieve a similar feat.

“I met the first gold medal winner Mirabai Chanu and I hugged her, and I felt that I should also bag a gold medal,” she recalled, with fondness.