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20-year-old Manika Batra qualifies for Rio Olympics 2016

The Delhi-girl proved yet again that she is one of the best paddlers in India

Two more Indians qualify for Rio Olympics.

Manika Batra and Soumyajit Ghosh booked their Rio 2016 berths after winning their respective groups at the Asian Olympic Qualification event in Hong Kong. The 20-year-old girl from Delhi has the nation pinning its hopes of Olympic glory on her and she is undeniably one of the exciting young prospects this year.

Manika Batra got the better of K Shamini, Mouma Das, and Pooja Sahasrabuddhe and proved yet again why she is one of the best paddlers in India.

She undoubtedly presents one of the finest possibilities of claiming the first ever medal for India in table tennis. Having caught the nation's attention, the action is all that remains for the two paddlers.

Although Manika lost her opening encounter against Pooja Sahasrabuddhe (7-11, 9-11, 12-10, 10-12, 11-5, 7-11), she came back strongly and defeated Shamini (4-11, 11-9, 11-3, 15-13, 8-11, 11-9) and Mouma Das (11-5, 8-11, 8-11, 11-9, 11-6, 11-6) in the next two matches.

Shamini won two matches out of three, but her defeat against Manika cost the Indian No. 3 badly.

There is an opportunity for one more paddler from this team to join Manika at Rio in the next event - Asian Qualifiers.

Soumyajit Ghosh makes the nation proud too

The 23-year-old Soumyajit will be going to represent India at the Olympics for the second time in Rio after he showed his attacking prowess and kept a clean slate to top the group which had Sharath Kamal, Anthony Amalraj, and Harmeet Desai.

The qualifiers were restricted to the four paddlers alone after the other South Asian teams decided to forego the event since India's supremacy is well known in the region.

Ghosh won against Sharath Kamal in the first match and then went from strength to strength to shut Amalraj and Desai out.

But India’s top-ranked paddler can still qualify based on his Olympic rankings and the Stage 2 Qualifiers which is the Asian Qualifiers.

As the Road to Rio picks up speed, it remains to be seen how far India’s paddlers take the tri-colour. As the nation holds its breath in anticipation, the countdown is underway with just about 3 months left for the Games.

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Edited by Staff Editor
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