India’s top singles table tennis players, Sharath Kamal, G. Sathiyan, Manika Batra and Sutirtha Mukherjee, all booked their places in the Tokyo Olympics, on Thursday.
At the Asian Olympic qualification event in Doha, Sathiyan and Sutirtha qualified as group toppers for what will be their maiden Olympics, while Sharath and Manika made the cut as the highest-ranked second-placed players in their respective categories.
It will be Sharath’s fourth appearance at the Olympics and second for Manika.
Sathiyan and Sharath faced each other in the opening group encounter, with the former prevailing 11-9, 15-13, 5-11, 7-11, 10-12, 11-9, 11-8. The World No.38 then defeated Pakistan’s Muhammad Rameez 11-5, 11-8, 11-9, 11-2 to seal his berth.
Sutirtha and Manika clashed in a winner-takes-all final group encounter. Sutirtha came through 7-11, 11-7, 11-4, 4-11, 11-5, 11-4 against her higher-ranked compatriot to clinch the tie and the Tokyo spot.
The Indian contingent will now shift its focus to mixed doubles where Sharath and Manika are in with a chance to secure the lone Olympic berth available at the Asian qualifiers.
The Indian duo beat Qatar’s Mohammed Abdul Wahhab and Maha Faramarzi 11-6, 11-6, 11-2, 11-3 to enter the semifinals. In the last-four match on Friday, it will take on Koen Pang Yew En and Ye Lin of Singapore.
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