Manika Batra: Rising Star of Indian Table Tennis
A prodigious Manika Batra created history by becoming the first Indian woman to win the gold medal in the singles event at the Commonwealth Games. The World No. 81 is in exceptional form.
Manika was outstanding at the Commonwealth Games. She won 4 medals (2 golds,1 silver, and 1 bronze). She made a huge upset in the team competition as well as in the women’s singles semi-final by defeating the Olympic medallist and World No.4 Feng. She thrashed her 12-10, 5-11, 11-8, 5-11, 5-11, 11-9, 13-11 in the semi-finals to earn the crucial victory for India.
The Indian cricket team’s World Cup win in 1983, wrestler Sushil Kumar’s bronze in 2008 Olympics and Saina Nehwal’s gold medal in CWG 2010 gave necessary strength to the respective sport in the country, which saw these rise to unprecedented heights. Because of Manika’s extraordinary performance in the Commonwealth Games 2018, it gave a boost to the table tennis game in the country.
Manika's performance in the last 3-4 years at the International events as well as at the national events have been stupendous. Batra qualified for the Olympics at the age of 20 only. She was the youngest in the team. Manika was the best performer amongst all the Indian players who had qualified for the Rio Olympics 2016.
In the Ultimate Table Tennis 2017, she defeated Kim Song who was the bronze medallist at the Rio Olympic 2016. In UTT she became the first Indian woman to beat a world ranked player and she was the most successful Indian woman in the league.
In UTT 2018, she won the title with the Dabang Smashers. She picked up the 'Indian player of the League' award for her outstanding performance throughout the season. She won 5 matches and lost 2.
Manika's performance at the National Tournament has also been terrific. In 2016, she clinched her maiden National Championship title by beating Pooja Sahasrabudhe in the crucial final. At the Table Tennis World Championship 2017, Manika's performance was remarkable as she made her way to the quarter-finals in the doubles event with the proficient Mouma Das, and it was the best performance by an Indian woman at the World Championships.
Manika has a defensive game. She uses long-pimpled rubber for the backhand. She has great blocking skills from the backhand as well as from the forehand. That is why, her game is different when compared to her teammates.
So, because of that odd game, sometimes, she gets an advantage over her opposition. She has a significant skill of flipping the racket, and because of that, sometimes, she puts her opponents in a confused situation.
Manika's dominance in Indian table tennis has been expanded. She has taken over the place of senior player Mouma Das as a key player in the Indian women's table tennis team. She is making India proud at the International level for a couple of years. She is constructing many victories single-handedly.
Now Manika is in that position in her career where people have started noticing her because of her performances and have started developing a keen interest in the sport. She is the future of Indian table tennis. She has the potential to bring about a revolution in the sport in India. Let us hope for more laurels from the sensational Manika Batra.