Guide to forms in 2021: Competitor WTT – Second round; WTT Star Contender – Pre-Quarter-Finals; World Singles Qualifications – 1st Round; Asian Olympic Qualifier – finalist.
Sharath Kamal was awarded the last qualifying place in the Asian Olympic Qualifier to secure her fourth appearance at the Games. Before the postponement of Tokyo 2020, Sharath looked in great shape after winning the Oman Open in March of last year – his second international title in a decade. He hasn’t looked so sharp since then, losing to compatriot G. Sathiyan in the semifinals of the 2021 nationals, which the players used as a warm-up before heading to Doha for two. WTT events and two chances to qualify for the Olympics. .
Sharath lost again to Sathiyan in the Asian qualifiers, in the four-man league. Sharath then waited for confirmation of his qualification from the International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF) as the top-ranked finalist. For what may well be his last Olympics, Sharath trained hard in Chennai and later at the national coaching camp in Sonepat. Since no Indian has ever won a match at the Olympics, it is pointless to talk about the country’s medal prospects.
Guide to forms in 2021: WTT competitor – 1st round; Star competitor of the WTT – 2nd round; World Singles Qualifications – 1st Round; Asian Olympic Qualifier – Winner.
Intern of Olympian and former national champion S. Raman, Sathiyan has played in various leagues across continents and honed his skills. – G. Ramakrishna
Eager to prove himself in his first Olympics, Sathiyan should be seen as the most motivated player in the Indian contingent. Trainee of the Olympian and former national champion S. Raman, he has played in various leagues across continents and honed his skills. Significantly, Sathiyan has beaten Sharath twice this year. He also deservedly won his first national title to get rid of the monkey.
Considering the standings, one shouldn’t expect Sathiyan to go far in the draw. Despite having a career victory over world No.5 and Japanese No.1 Tomokazu Harimoto, in addition to stretching other big names, Sathiyan has yet to manage to prepare himself on the big stage. With Sharath set to call it a day, Sathiyan is set to take over as a friendly and inspiring champion for the next generation.
Guide to forms in 2021: Competitor WTT – 2nd round; Star competitor of the WTT – 2nd round; World Singles Qualifying – Semi-finals; Asian Olympic Qualifier – Finalist.
Manika captured the nation’s imagination with her exploits at the 2018 Commonwealth Games. – AP
Manika caught the nation’s imagination with her Commonwealth Games exploits in 2018, and later that year added an unexpected Asian Games bronze medal in mixed doubles with Sharath. However, since then, it has nothing more to show on the international scene. In 2021, she justifies her headliner by winning the national title.
Unlike Sharath and Sathiyan, who regularly step out of the top ranked player scene, Manika has struggled to win big games. Just when it emerged that Indian women had a clear shot at entering the Olympics as a team, Manika surrendered, rather submissively, to a lower-ranked rival in the deciding match.
Like Sharath, Manika was awarded the last Asian place on the basis of the standings after losing in the continental qualifying event. With just two players in the chase, Sutirtha Mukherjee came out stronger and Manika was left to travel to Tokyo as the top-ranked finalist.
One of the main reasons for Manika’s non-performance on the international stage is that his choice of defensive coating on the back of his racket no longer takes the opponent by surprise. She profited from the use of long button rubber until 2018, but the biggest names now seem well prepared for it.
Despite a run of ordinary performances since the 2018 Asian Games, Manika remains the undisputed princess of Indian table tennis. However, that could all change quickly if she fails to make a strong impression, starting with the Tokyo Games.
Guide to forms in 2021: WTT competitor – 1st round; Star competitor of the WTT – 2nd round; World Singles Qualifying – 2nd Round; Asian Olympic Qualifier – Winner.
National champion in 2020, Sutirtha was a surprise package among the Olympic qualifiers. – Special arrangement
The national champion in 2020, Sutirtha was indeed a surprise package among the Olympic qualifiers. She dominated Manika for a place in Tokyo. A player who surprises everyone with her fairly quick movements around the table, Sutritha has done enough to be counted among the best players in the country. Trainee of former national champion Soumyadeep Roy, Sutirtha had some impressive performances during the last edition of the Ultimate Table Tennis League in New Delhi. But in Tokyo, her low ranking will certainly place her against one of the big names in the opening rounds. Since there is no expectation on her part, she can play freely and gain immense experience. expectations of her, Sutirtha can play freely and gain immense experience.
Sharath Kamal and Manika Batra
Guide to forms in 2021: WTT competitor – 1st round; Star competitor of the WTT – 1st round; Asian Olympic Qualifier – Winner.
Manika Batra and Sharath Kamal qualified for the mixed doubles by stunning the Korean pair of Lee Sangsu and Jeon Jihee, ranked eighth in the world. – PHOTO / PTI FILE
The duo qualified for the mixed doubles by stunning South Korean pair Lee Sang-su and Jeon Ji Hee, ranked eighth in the world. Sharath and Manika’s 4-2 victory after a 0-2 loss was the biggest surprise of the qualifying event.
The duo barely train together. Even after winning a surprise bronze medal at the 2018 Asian Games, Sharath and Manika practiced rather casually without ever looking serious about their training. At Sharath’s insistence, Manika came to Chennai to train for the mixed doubles but left after just three days. Again, when the Indian Table Tennis Federation (TTFI) held a 23 day camp in Sonepat, she reluctantly reported and left after the first three days.
Against the backdrop of this relaxed approach to mixed doubles in the days leading up to the Games, Sharath raised the possibility of winning a lucky medal in the 16-team event, but Manika’s apparent disinterest in training for Event No. ‘inspires no confidence.