Mixed doubles is India’s best chance for a TT Olympic medal, says Sharath Kamal

Sharath Kamal feels Manika Batra has enhanced her doubles game in quick time, putting the duo in good stead ahead of the Tokyo Olympics.

Sharath Kamal and Manika Batra worked on their co-ordination and footwork during the five-day camp in Chennai.   -  SPECIAL ARRANGEMENT

Indian paddlers Sharath Kamal and Manika Batra, who are in prepartion for the Tokyo Olympics mixed doubles, had five fruitful sessions at the Hall of TT, Nehru Stadium, that concluded on Friday.

“It was really really good. We worked on our footwork and co-ordination with multi-ball training in the morning and played with different partners simulating match situations in the evening,” Sharath told Sportstar after a tiring practice session.

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Sharath praised Manika for improving her doubles game in a short time. “Now she is compact, not making many mistakes. She is sort of settled in her zone. We are trying to get back her confidence she enjoyed in 2018 where she won medals in Commonwealth Games and a bronze with me in the Asian Games,” said the nine-time National champion.

There were technical issues which both addressed during training sessions; the major one being how both of them, being tall players, had to space themselves better. “In doubles, you have more reaction time, but being tall we are close to each other during shot making as we are on the same line and so get stuck in the same place. We worked on that,” said Sharath.

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Sharath feels Manika’s strength lies in her ability to slow down the rallies and get him to go on the attack. “She slows down the pace of the rallies so that I can generate speed. Moreover, our strengths are in the open game when there are more rallies. That’s how we beat the Korean pair in the Olympic Qualifiers in Doha in the final where Manika was outstanding,” he said, while adding: “Everybody knows that the best chance for a medal in the Tokyo Olympics lies with mixed doubles.”

Manika will leave for Pune on Saturday.

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