Manika Batra, G. Sathiyan set to reunite in mixed doubles

The duo will start its second essay with the Hungarian Open next week, and the long-term goal is to bring laurels to India at the Paris Olympics 2024.

G. Sathiyan and Manika Batra in action at the Commonwealth Games in 2018.   -  FILE PHOTO/ GETTY IMAGES

G. Sathiyan and Manika Batra have decided to reunite in mixed doubles in a bid to bring laurels to Indian table tennis at the Paris Olympics in 2024. The duo will start its second essay with the next week’s Hungarian Open, the first World Tour event in the new Olympic cycle.

The development comes barely a fortnight since Manika and A. Sharath Kamal’s represented India in mixed doubles in Tokyo. The duo, who fetched India a historic first Asian Games table tennis medal in the same event in 2019, had qualified for the Olympics after beating the World No. 5 pair of Lee Sangsu and Jihee Jneon in the qualifers.

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“Sathiyan and Manika discussed it after returning from Tokyo. We as personal coaches feel they have the best shot at all the multi-disciplinary games in the next three years,” S. Raman, Sathiyan’s personal coach, told Sportstar on Wednesday.

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“We have written to all the relevant authorities about charting out a roadmap for their mixed doubles pairing leading up to Paris 2024.”

Raman will watch the duo in action in Budapest from the sidelines, as the former national champion will be travelling with his ward. Sathiyan and Manika have had a fruitful stint as a combination early on in their career. In fact, in the last match they played as a team, the duo defeated Sharath and Mouma Das to win the bronze medal at the 2018 Commonwealth Games.

Sathiyan, Raman, Manika and her personal coach Sanmay Paranjape had a round of discussion before both the players wrote to the Table Tennis Federation of India, Sports Authority of India and Target Olympic Podium Scheme officials last week.

Sharath, the veteran, wished the duo well, albeit being a tad disappointed with the lack of communication. “I wish both of them well but it would have been better had either of them communicated their decision to me before I got to know it from the federation,” he said.

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