Insight Online News
Kolkata, Jul 22 : The Olympics draw for the table tennis events
puts the Indian paddlers in a straitjacket as the mixed pair
of A. Sharath Kamal and Manika Batra will faceoff third-seeded Lin
Yun-Ju and Cheng I-Chin in the first-round match,
beginning at the Tokyo Metropolitan Gymnasium on Saturday.
The Indian duo that won a bronze in Jakarta Asian Games will not have it any easy against the Taipei pair, a left-right combination.
The left-handed Lin, ranked No. 6 in the world, has speed and potent forehand while Cheng, ranked No. 8, brings in a lot of experience and variety.
However, Sharath and G. Sathiyan can look ahead as they will not step onto the arena until the second round of the men’s singles on Sunday.
Sharath, the top-ranked Indian in the world at 32, will take on the
winner of the match between Tiago Apolonia of Portugal and Olajide
Omotayo of Nigeria, while Sathiyan, ranked 38, will meet either Brian Afanador of Puerto Rica or Lam Siu Hang of Hong Kong, according to Table Tennis Federation of India’s Secretary General Arun Kumar Banerjee.
Though their passage into the third round looks like a certainty,
their problems also begin in the same round as Sharath
will run into second-seeded Ma Long of China, also the Rio Olympics
champion. Sathiyan, on the other hand, will meet
fourth-seeded Tomokazu Harimoto of Japan.
Sathiyan has once beaten Harimoto in the Asian championships in 2019.
However, Sharath has never won against the
Chinese whom he has met twice, in 2011 and 2012.
But in the women’s singles, it will be tough for both Manika Batra and
In their first-round clashes Saturday, Manika, who is ranked 61, will
take on Great Britain’s Ho Tin Tin, ranked 99.
On the other hand, Sutirtha will meet Linda Bergstrom from Sweden, a
It was Linda who put paid to India’s ambitions during the team events
in Gondomar last January.
Manika has beaten Tin Tin once, but the Indian will be wary of the
If Manika manages to go through, she will take on Margaryta Pesotska
of Ukraine (No. 36) in the second round and
then Sofia Polcanova of Austria (No. 17) in the next. But for
Sutirtha, it is a big ask against Linda, ranked 70 in the world.
The Indian has next in line Yu Fu from Portugal (No. 55) in the second
round and much tougher Mima Ito of Japan (No. 30) in the third.