G Sathiyan, Manika Batra out to forge a winning partnership in mixed doubles

G Sathiyan (R) and Manika Batra at the 2018 Commonwealth Games
G Sathiyan (R) and Manika Batra at the 2018 Commonwealth Games
Hari Kishore M

Indian table tennis players Sathiyan Gnanasekaran and Manika Batra are out to forge a winning partnership. Three years after they teamed up in mixed doubles at the 2018 Commonwealth Games to win a historic bronze medal, the duo have set sights on the 2024 Paris Olympics.

The paddlers’ first assignment in mixed doubles will be the Hungary Open, which commences on August 17 in Budapest.

Read: Who is Manika Batra? 5 things you didn't know about India's table tennis star

Manika Batra partnered Achanta Sharath Kamal at the recently-concluded Tokyo Olympics 2021 and the duo were ousted in the first round.

Paddler Sathiyan is happy to be joining forces with Manika Batra again and is looking at a long-term goal. In an exclusive interview with Sportskeeda, Sathiyan said:

“Manika approached me after discussions with her coach and once she had made a proposal, I had a discussion with my coach too before agreeing to the partnership. She is the best female paddler in India right now and it gives us enough time to get the ball rolling, keeping the Paris Olympics in mind.”

Sathiyan said in the last three years both players have improved by leaps and bounds. They hope to utilize the packed table tennis calendar to iron out any teething troubles and take their games to the next level.

“We last played three years back and since then we have had a lot of changes in our game," said Sathiyan. "The Hungary Open will be the perfect setting to create a road map for the future and chalk out a strategy with our respective coaches.
"We have the Commonwealth Games, the Asian Games and the World Championships coming up which would put us in good stead in the mixed doubles and then on the road to Paris.”

Sathiyan, Manika Batra complement each other’s game well

Manika Batra is the top female paddler in the country and any hopes of a medal in the mixed doubles category would involve her.

Also read: More than rankings, bringing down big names in top 10 gives me more confidence, says Sathiyan

Sathiyan, the No. 2 ranked Indian male player, said the duo complement each other’s game well.

“I have a very good understanding of long-pimpled rubber - the advantages it has and the specifics you can take out of it. I use plain rubber while playing," Sathiyan said.
"The advantage of using long-pimped rubber is that it gives a reverse spin, for example, a top spin can be made into back spin etc. It also has the advantage of slowing down the game. I move around the table fast and quick and it can result in us playing a good counter-attacking game.”

The last match Sathiyan and Manika played as a team was at the 2018 Commonwealth Games, where they defeated Sharath Kamal and Mouma Das to win the bronze medal. They will now look to pick up from where they left off.

Edited by Sudeshna Banerjee


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