Tokyo Olympics-bound Indian paddler Manika Batra’s coach Sanmay Paranjpe has stated that a lot more focus will be given to the opponent-specific style of training ahead of the mega event. The 25-year-old from Delhi qualified for her second Olympics owing to her higher rankings in the Asian qualifiers.
In addition to Manika Batra, her compatriots Achanta Sharath Kamal, G Sathiyan and Sutirtha Mukherjee also made the cut for the Tokyo Olympics in their respective singles categories.
While Sharath Kamal and Mukherjee will be making their debuts at the Olympics, Tokyo 2021 will be the fourth for veteran Sharath Kamal.
Besides the women’s singles, Manika Batra will also pair up with Sharath Kamal for the mixed doubles – India’s first pair at the Olympics in the event. Paranjpe feels Manika Batra needs to work more on her game technically and is in a much better mental space now.
“I feel she is mentally much better now, her physical ability has improved because she is working on it daily – from yoga to strength training and agility. We have worked a lot on her forehand, so that is one good improvement in her,” Paranjpe was quoted as saying to SAI Media.
“I would also want her to work on more of her service and receiving aspect because it is very important for tournaments. Regarding Olympics and other high-level tournaments, I would want her to train specifically for certain players. We want a player and opponent-specific training in these three months that we would try,” he added.
With just a few months to go until the Tokyo Olympics, the Table Tennis Federation of India (TTFI) has left it to the Tokyo-bound paddlers to decide on their training programs.
Obviously, the paddlers would like to go abroad and train, but a second wave of a stronger COVID-19 variant is likely to jeopardize their plans. In that case the Indians would have to rely on their sparring partners for training.
Manika Batra knows expectations will be higher in Tokyo
At Rio five years back, Manika Batra couldn’t make it big, losing out to Katarzyna Grzybowska of Poland in women’s singles first round. Coming to theo Tokyo Olympics, Manika Batra knows the expectations from her and is determined to bring back some joy to the fans and well wishers.
“Compared to the last Olympics, the Tokyo Olympics is a whole lot different because I have to bring back something this time,” stated Manika Batra in an video interview to SAI Media.
Paranjape is also hopeful Manika Batra will upset a few top players at the Tokyo Olympics provided the training goes according to plan.
“In these three months if she trains well, I think she can surprise a few players. I am very hopeful about her progress, she will do much better than her previous Olympics. If she keeps being the sincere athlete that she is currently and really keeps going with the same motivation, I do feel her performance graph from this Olympics to the next one will improve a lot,” Paranjpe concluded.