Manika Batra, an expert Indian paddler, upset Japan’s Hina Hayata in the women’s singles bronze medal match on Saturday to become the first Indian woman to earn a medal at the ITTF-ATTU Asian Cup competition.At the continental competition, it was India’s third medal. Chetan Baboor was the only Indian table tennis player to take home a medal at the Asian Cup prior to Manika, winning silver in 1997 and bronze in 2000.
Manika, the top-ranked female table tennis player in India, who was playing at the Huamark Indoor Stadium, defeated Hina, the bronze medalist from the 2021 Table Tennis World Cup, 4-2 in the playoff to take third place (11-6, 6-11, 11-7, 12-10, 4-11, 11-2).The bronze medalist from the Tokyo Olympic Games, Mima Ito of Japan, defeated Manika in the semifinals earlier in the day. In a fiercely contested match, the world No. 5 Japanese player defeated Manika Batra 4-2 (8-11, 11-7, 7-11, 6-11, 11-8, 7-11). The 27-year-old Batra had earlier advanced to the tournament’s last-four stage by thrillingly defeating Chinese Taipei’s Chen Szu Yu, ranked 23rd in the world. In the first round, she had also pulled off a significant upset over China’s Chen Xingtong, the No. 7 player in the world.
Manika declared after winning the bronze medal, “I’m overjoyed to have taken home the bronze in this Asian Cup. Being able to defeat elite competitors is a huge win for me, and it was fantastic to play and battle them. I’ll keep working hard and do my absolute best in my next competitions. Just continue to encourage and support me as usual. I appreciate all of you being there for me.”India’s top-ranked men’s singles player, Sathiyan Gnanasekaran, who is rated 39 in the world, and national champion Achanta Sharath Kamal, who is ranked 44, were eliminated in the first round of the men’s singles competition. In the meantime, Batra received praise from Prime Minister Narendra Modi for her accomplishment. “I congratulate Manika Batra on writing Indian table tennis history at the Asian Cup by taking home a bronze medal. Her success will encourage a lot of athletes in India and increase interest in table tennis “PM Modi tweeted.
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