Manika Batra earns high praise from Sports Ministry

Manika Batra has earned the pride of place in the Union Sports Ministry’s analysis of the recently concluded Commonwealth Games (CWG) held in Gold Coast.

India's Manika Batra with her gold medal.   -  AFP

Manika Batra has earned the pride of place in the Union Sports Ministry’s analysis of the recently concluded Commonwealth Games (CWG) held in Gold Coast.

“The highlight of the Commonwealth Games 2018 has been table tennis star Manika Batra (world number 58). She beat Feng Tianwei (World No. 4) twice in the team event singles and the women’s singles semifinal. She comes back as the athlete with the maximum number of medals claiming two gold, 1 silver and 1 bronze,” the note on CWG says of the Delhi-based Manika.

For a sport which is not among the elite priority list of the Government, the achievement by Manika and the glowing recognition by the experts in the Ministry is seen as a huge fillip to table tennis.

Analysing the performance at the 2018 CWG, where India won 26 gold, 20 silver and 20 bronze medals, the Ministry noted, “The players have definitely established India’s identity in the sporting field worldwide. The incessant toil of not just the players but also that of their coaches, training academies, funding and supporting organizations like Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports (MYAS), Sports Authority of India (SAI) deserves applause.” “

The analysis has recognised the importance of the preparation for the CWG. “To mention a few, CWG preparatory camps were organized at Qatar, Melbourne, Germany, Poland, Canberra, Gold Coast, New Delhi, Hyderabad, Patiala, Bangalore. A whooping amount of INR 122.62 crore approximately was invested in this regard for the providing the players with vital foreign exposure and training.  Out of 66, SAI has supported 46 medalists in the Target Olympic Podium Scheme introduced by MYAS.

Union Sports Minister Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore told Sportstar, “SAI, under the ambit of MYAS, has contributed significantly in making sure that the players are provided training at academies and training institutes with state-of-the-art sporting facilities. And this is just the beginning. This team at TOPS consists of passionate sports experts and we are hiring more to strengthen the team.”

According to the Ministry analysis, “About 70% of the medalists are covered under the TOP Scheme and the committee is in continuous process of evaluating the performance of the players who are future medal prospects of the nation to be included under the umbrella of TOPS. If we analyse the performance of our players in 2014 and in 2018, we can arguably deduce that India’s performance has improved overall.”

The Ministry also observed, “Khelo India winners Manu Bhaker and Anish Banwala were on target as they captured the women’s 10m Air Pistol gold and men’s 25m Rapid Fire Pistol gold respectively. Satwik Reddy and Chirag Shetty (badminton), Gaurav Solanki (boxing), Mehuli Ghosh and Om Prakash Mitharwal (shooting), Pooja Dhanda ( wrestling), Hima Das (400m) Khushbir Kaur (20 km race-walk) are other potential players.