India’s Olympic medallist Manika Batra registered a comfortable win over Republic of South Africa’s Mushfiquh Kalam in three sets. The India seed won the first game 11-5, followed by winning the next two sets 11-3, 11-2 in just 15 minutes.
Manika Batra had an excellent start to her match as she zoomed ahead with a 9-4 lead in the game. Musfiquh Kalam had some close calls but Manika just pushed through with confident play to get ahead in the game against the Proteas star. She then comfortably registered her 11 points while giving just one to seal the first game.
The second game got off to a similar start as the unstoppable Manika blew through her South African opponent. Batra, with her incredible forehand shots, took a 5-0 lead in the second game as Mushfiquh Kalam had no answers. The Indian paddler won the second game 11-3.
Manika Batra continued asserting her dominance even in the third game as she took offensive rout and registered an 8-2 lead. After this onslaught, she didn’t waste any time earning the victory. She dominated every game and clinched the third with 11-2. An incredible showing from the Indian paddler as she completed a 3-0 win.
This victory will definitely boost Manika Batra and the entire TT contingent’s hopes about a good showing but a former Indian athlete believes that this may not happen. Former Asian Games Medalist Somdev Devvarman feels that the team TT team may find it difficult to replicate their exploits from the last edition of the event.
He said, “Coming to table tennis, Manika Batra has four medals in the last Games and also stalwarts like Sharath Kamal. But it’s not going to be easy at all to match last time’s haul (eight medals). Manika had four medals herself. It’ll be a massive effort. It’s one thing to come out here and win medals like she did the last time. But it’s another thing to back it up in the next Games.
There’s a lot that’s changed over the last four years. Keep in mind there’s the team events. I think if there’s good camaraderie, good energy in the team, then teammates tend to get the best out of you in the toughest moments. I think it’ll be hard but we can still hope for the best,” he continued.