Often relegated to the status of a recreational sport in the country, table tennis has grown in prominence over the past few years.
This change can be attributed to Indian table tennis players winning big on the international stage. It’s now no longer about Sharath Kamal waging a lone battle under the tri-colour as others too have made a name for themselves in recent years. Here are some of the best.
Undoubtedly the superstar of Indian table tennis, Manika Batra has been the cynosure over the past years. The Delhi-born player was first drawn into the sport as a four-year-old watching her elder siblings play the sport.
Manika Batra soon joined them at the table and went on to excel in the coming years. She won her first international medal as a 16-year-old in 2011, a silver in the Under-21 category at the Chile Open, and three years later made the Indian team for the 2014 Commonwealth Games.
Though Manika bowed out in the quarter-finals of the women’s singles event at Glasgow 2014, she showed promise.
The Indian table tennis player continued to build on her game and won three medals at the Commonwealth table tennis championships a year later, including a bronze in the women’s singles event, and headed into the 2016 Olympics on the back of a fine run.
But her debut Games didn’t go as per plan as Manika Batra was ousted in the opening round of the singles event.
The Rio 2016 disappointment, however, didn’t linger for long as Manika Batra roared back in style to dominate the 2018 Commonwealth Games in Gold Coast, Australia.
Gold Coast 2018 was special for the Indian table tennis player as Manika not only helped the nation pull off a massive upset over defending champions Singapore in the women’s team event, but also became the first female Indian to win the singles title at the CWG.
Manika Batra, a Khel Ratna award winner, wrapped up her Commonwealth Games campaign with a medal in every event she competed in.
At the Tokyo Olympics, Manika Batra became the first female Indian table tennis player to make the singles round of 32, beating the higher-ranked Margaryta Pesotska of Ukraine along the way.
She also made history, along with Sathiyan Gnanasekaran, by becoming the first Indian pair to win a World Table Tennis (WTT) title after the duo won the mixed doubles title at the WTT Contender Budapest in August 2021.
An active player at the international circuit for about two decades, Sharath Kamal enjoys a legendary status in Indian table tennis.
Sharath Kamal has won the national table tennis championship a record nine times, is the first Indian to win an ITTF Pro Tour title and is the first Indian to win a singles gold medal at the Commonwealth Games. He is also a four-time Olympian.
With the legendary coach Srinivas Rao as his father, it was no surprise that Sharath Kamal took up the TT racket at a very young age. The Chennai player’s first major international win came in 2004 when he won the singles competition at the Commonwealth table tennis championships in Malaysia.
Sharath Kamal rode on his brilliant form to make his Olympic debut at Athens 2004. He won his opening-round match at the Games but lost the next to Hong Kong’s Ko Lai Chak, who won the doubles silver at the Games.
However, Sharath Kamal’s biggest moment came two years later at the 2006 Commonwealth Games in Melbourne when he became the first Indian to win the singles gold at CWG. The Indian star beat local favourite William Henzell of Australia in the final.
Incidentally, the Commonwealth Games has been Sharath Kamal’s favourite competition with as many as eight medals from three editions.
The Indian TT player also has two Asian Games bronze medals to his name and won his second ITTF Pro Tour title at the Oman Open just before the COVID-19 pandemic suspended the season in 2020.
In what is likely to be his Olympic swansong, Sharath Kamal also pushed eventual champion Ma Long of China all the way before falling in five games in the men’s singles round of 32 at Tokyo 2020.
He is among the latest names in the Indian table tennis circuit to make an impact. Along with Sharath Kamal, Sathiyan Gnanasekaran has been one to watch out for every time an international table tennis competition rolls out.
However, Sathiyan’s foray into professional TT was more out of chance than choice. Growing up in a conservative Tamil household, sports was never a career option. Though the Chennai local would play TT frequently, it was never a serious affair.
But this changed when he met his coach Subramaniam Raman, a former national level player, who was convinced of his ward’s talent and persuaded the youngster to give the game a go.
With titles in the junior circuit, Sathiyan Gnanasekaran climbed up the ladder in due time and clinched his maiden ITTF Pro Tour crown in 2016 at the Belgium Open. A year later, he teamed up with Sharath Kamal to win a bronze at an ITTF Major in Sweden and followed that up with a silver medal in Bulgaria a few months later.
But Indian’s career-defining moment came in 2018 when he helped India to a team title in the men’s event at the 2018 Commonwealth Games while also adding the Asian Games bronze to his kitty that year.
An Arjuna awardee, G Sathiyan is also a regular in a number of leagues in Europe and Asia.
G Sathiyan made his Olympics debut at Tokyo 2020, where he was on course for a maiden victory before eventually falling in seven games to Hong Kong’s Lam Siu Hang in the second round.
He soon put that disappointment behind him, as Sathiyan won the WTT Contender Budapest mixed doubles title with Manika Batra and followed it up with the ITTF Czech International Open title a week later.
The old workhorse of Indian table tennis, Mouma Das has been one of the consistent performers for the national team.
The two-time Olympian from Kolkata, West Bengal has been a regular fixture in the national squad over the past decade and has come up with some inspiring performances in crunch situations.
Mouma Das made her international debut at the 1997 World Table Tennis Championship. Though the Indian team failed to make the last 16 at the competition, the event was an eye-opener for a young Mouma Das.
The coming years saw the TT player from Kolkata improve and win her first Commonwealth Games medal in 2006.
An Arjuna Award winner, Mouma Das went on to add four more to her kitty from CWG, the latest coming in 2018 with Manika Batra in their historic win over Singapore.
Hailing from Rajkot, Manav Thakkar rose to fame in 2020 when he became the first Indian to claim the top spot in the world ranking in the under-21 category.
Born in a doctor’s family, both his parents are medical practitioners, Manav Thakkar took up table tennis and other sports only to stay fit.
But with time, the Indian youngster was drawn into the game and with consistent performances at the domestic level, soon found himself among the national team hopefuls.
At the national camps, it was the former Indian coach Massimo Constantini’s feedback that helped the young Indian grow in confidence.
It worked wonders for Manav Thakkar as he made the Indian team for the 2018 Asian Games and returned home with a team bronze medal from Jakarta.
Other Indian paddlers who have made an impact include Kamlesh Mehta, who was the highest ranked Indian player in the 80s, Olympians Neha Aggarwal and Ankita Das, and Anthony Amalraj and Harmeet Desai, who also found success at the Commonwealth Games.
Indian table tennis player
Manika Batra (born 15 June 1995) is an Indiantable tennis player. As of November 2020, she is the top-ranked female table tennis player in India and ranked 62nd in the world as of July 2021. She was awarded the Major Dhyan Chand Khel Ratna in 2020.
Batra was born on 15 June 1995 as the youngest of three children. She hails from Naraina Vihar in Delhi and began playing table tennis at the age of four. Her elder sister Anchal and elder brother Sahil both played table tennis, with Anchal having an influence on her during her early playing career. After winning a match in a state-level under-8 tournament, Batra decided to train under coach Sandeep Gupta who suggested her to switch to Hans Raj Model School where he ran his academy.
Batra turned down many modelling offers as a teenager. When she was 16, she declined a scholarship to train at the Peter Karlsson Academy in Sweden. She studied at the Jesus and Mary College, New Delhi for a year before dropping out to concentrate on table tennis.
In 2011, Batra won the silver medal in the under-21 category of the Chile Open. She represented India at the 2014 Commonwealth Games at Glasgow, where she finished quarterfinalist, as well as the 2014 Asian Games. She won three medals at the 2015 Commonwealth Table Tennis Championships, winning silver in the women's team event (with Ankita Das and Mouma Das) as well as the women's doubles event (with Ankita Das) and bronze in the women's singles event.
Batra won three gold medals at the 2016 South Asian Games, winning the women's doubles event (with Pooja Sahasrabudhe), mixed doubles event (with Anthony Amalraj) and women's team event (with Mouma Das and Shamini Kumaresan). Batra was denied a fourth gold medal at the Games by Mouma Das, who defeated her in the final of the women's singles event. She qualified for the women's singles event of the 2016 Summer Olympics by winning the South Asia group of the qualification tournament in April 2016. However, her appearance at the 2016 Olympics short-lived, as she lost to Katarzyna Grzybowska of Poland in the first round of the women's individual event.
Batra led the Indian women's team to a gold medal win in the final against four-time gold medalists and defending champions Singapore at the 2018 Commonwealth Games in Gold Coast, Australia. The Singapore women's table tennis team had never lost in the Commonwealth Games since the sport was inducted in the program in 2002. Batra defeated world number 4 Feng Tianwei as well as Zhou Yihan in India's 3–1 win in the final.
Batra and Mouma Das won India's maiden silver medal in the women's doubles category at the 2018 Commonwealth Games losing to defending champions Feng Tianwei and Yu Mengyu of Singapore in the gold medal clash. Batra became the first Indian woman to bag a commonwealth table tennis individual gold medal in CWG 2018 by beating Yu Mengyu of Singapore. She won 4 medals in 4 events she was participating out of which 2 are gold, 1 silver and 1 bronze medal.
At the 2020 Summer Olympics, Batra reached the third round of the women's singles event, becoming the first Indian paddler to reach the third round at the Olympics in a singles event.
In September 2021, Batra accused Indian National Coach Soumyadeep Roy of pressuring her to throw a match at the Olympic Qualifiers (in March) to his personal student.
In the media
Batra was featured on the cover of the July 2018 issue of Femina.
She also featured in the November 2018 edition of Vogue Magazine.
The International Table Tennis Federation (ITFF) has confirmed that four Indian players - Manika Batra, Sutirtha Mukherjee, Sharath Kamal and Sathiyan Gnanasekaran - will be competing at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics.
In the men’s singles, veteran Sharath Kamal, making his fourth appearance at the Summer Games, will be accompanied by Sathiyan Gnanasekaran while Manika Batra and Suthirtha Mukherjee will be competing in the women’s singles.
The mixed doubles event, which makes its debut at Tokyo 2020, will feature the duo of Manika Batra and Sharath Kamal, along with 15 other pairs from across the world.
A total of 65 men and 70 women will be competing in the respective singles event.
The 25-year-old Sutirtha Mukherjee qualified for her maiden Olympic Games by topping the South Asia group at the Asian Olympic Qualification Tournament while Manika Batra, making her second successive Olympics appearance, sealed her berth by finishing as the highest-ranked second-placed player in the same group.
Ace Indian TT player and the world No. 32 Sharath Kamal and 38th-ranked Sathiyan Gnanasekaran also booked their tickets to Tokyo with wins at the Asian Olympic qualifiers.
The mixed doubles duo Sharath Kamal and Manika Batra confirmed their spots at the big-ticket event after winning the final at the continental qualifier in Doha.
India table tennis players qualified for Tokyo Olympics
Sharath Kamal Achanta
Manika Batra and Sharath Kamal
Table tennis may not be as popular sport as cricket or football in India, but there are a few talented Indian paddlers dominating the world scene right now.
Here’s a look at a few top Indian paddlers right now:
He is easily the Virat Kohli of Indian table tennis currently. He is nine times senior National champion, the only Indian player to achieve this feat.
He broke the record of Kamlesh Mehta, who was a eight times National champion. Sharath has won four gold, one silver and three bronze medals in Commonwealth Games.
In Asian Games, he has won two bronze medals. His achievements helped him earn Padma Shri recently.
Manika is ranked the No 1 female Indian player in table tennis currently. She has won two gold, one silver and one bronze medals in Commonwealth Games.
The 2018 Commonwealth Games was memorable for Manika as she became the first Indian paddler to win gold in women’s singles in this tournament’s history.
In the same edition, she won gold in women’s team. She has also won three gold medals in South Asian Games.
The Chennai-born paddler is the highest ranked Indian at No 30 in International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF) rankings.
When he won the Belgium Open in 2016, he became the second Indian player after Sharath Kamal (2012) to win an ITTF event. His exploits saw him bag TOISA Table Tennis player of the year award and Arjuna Award in 2019.
Belonging to a middle-class family in West Bengal, Soumyajit created history when he became the youngest Indian paddler to quality for 2012 Olympic Games.
He was 19 then. At that age, he also became the youngest national champion.
He defeated top star Sharath Kamal in the 74th National Table Tennis Championships to achieve the feat. A rape allegation marred his career in 2018. Later, he married the girl who he had allegedly raped.
Photo courtesy: Manika Batra's official Facebook page
Tags:Manika BatraSharath KamalSoumyajit GhoshTable Tennis
India table tennis player
Indian table tennis player
Achanta Sharath Kamal (born 12 July 1982) is an Indian professional table tennis player. He is the first Indian table tennis player ever to become nine times Senior National Champion hence breaking the record of eight times National Champion Kamlesh Mehta. In 2019 he was awarded the Padma Shri, India's fourth highest civilian award.
His ITTF world ranking is 32 as of May 2021[update]. He beat Joo Se Hyuk and Chuang Chih-yuan, world no. 8 and 16 respectively in 2015 28th Asian cup at Jaipur. Sharath won the men's singles gold in the 16th Commonwealthtable tennis championship held at Kuala Lumpur in 2004. He is a recipient of the Arjuna award for the year 2004. He currently[when?] lives in Düsseldorf, Germany.[needs update] Over the past few years[when?] he has been playing in the European league. After stints in Spain and Sweden, he is currently[when?] playing in the German Bundesliga for the club Borussia Düsseldorf.
He has won the US Open Table Tennis Men's championships held at Grand Rapids, Michigan in July 2010. During the course of the tournament he went on to defeat the defending champion Thomas Keinath of Slovakia in an epic battle of 7 games to win 4–3. In the same year he won the Egypt Open beating Li Ching of Hong Kong in straight sets 11–7, 11–9, 11–8, 11–4; thus becoming first Indian to win a singles title on the ITTF Pro Tour. He also captained the Indian men's team that won the team title at the same championship by defeating favourites and nine-time champions England.
He also won the gold medal at the 2006 Commonwealth Games in Melbourne, beating crowd favourite Australian William Henzell in the final, apart from helping the Indian team clinch gold in the table tennis team event against Singapore. He teamed up with Subhajit Saha to win the Men's Doubles gold at the 2010 Commonwealth Games in New Delhi. He won three medals in 2018 Commonwealth Games in Gold Coast, gold in men's team event with Anthony Amalraj, Harmeet Desai, Sathiyan Gnanasekaran & Sanil Shetty silver in men's doubles with Sathiyan Gnanasekaran & bronze in men's singles event.
He represented India in the 2004 Olympics in Athens and is still the top Indian TT player. He also represented the country in the 2006 Asian Games at Qatar.
In the year 2007 he was the first Indian to win the Pyongyang Invitational Tournament held at Pyongyang, North Korea. This was the 21st edition of the tournament which was held in August 2007. His best performance on the world circuit came in the Japan Pro Tour held in June 2007 where he beat World No.19, Lee Jung Woo (South Korea). After this victory he reached his career best ranking of World No. 73 and in January 2011 his ranking is 44. Incidentally, Sharath was also the only Indian Men's Table Tennis player to be selected for the Beijing Olympics in 2008.
In the season 2010–11 he also played in the German major league (Bundesliga) for TSV Gräfelfing and has been one of the best players in the league with wins over top German TT players. He played for SV Werder Bremen in the 2011–12 season. During 2012–13, he played in the Swedish league before returning to Germany in May 2013 to sign for Borussia Düsseldorf. Known as the "Rekordmeisters", Borussia Düsseldorf is one of the best clubs in Europe. Sharath and the team also won the Deutsche Pokal for the year 2013, a prestigious cup tournament in Germany. Currently the team is ranked second in the Bundesliga season 2013–14.
Sharath qualified for the 2016 Rio Olympics after beating Iran's Noshad Alamian in the Asian Olympic qualification. However, he made a first round exit in the men's individual event losing to Adrian Crișan of Romania.
He is an alumnus of PSBB Nungambakkam school (class of 2000) and Loyola College, Chennai. He is employed with the Indian Oil Corporation as an officer.
In March 2021, Sharath played in WTT Doha, where he upset Patrick Franziska in the round of 32.
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- ^"World ranking Record for ACHANTA Sharath Kamal (IND)". ITTF. Archived from the original on 13 August 2016. Retrieved 13 October 2012.
- ^2021 ITTF Table Tennis World Ranking, 
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- ^"Current WR - Men". results.ittf.link. Retrieved 14 April 2018.
- ^ ab"Fresh Faces". India Today. Retrieved 6 August 2009.
- ^How table tennis champ Sharath Kamal is chasing his Olympics dream
- ^"Rediff News". Rediff India. Retrieved 12 July 2010.
- ^"Rediff Sports". Rediff India. Retrieved 13 October 2010.
- ^"CWG 2018: Iconic Achantha Sharath Kamal bows out with TT bronze". Times of India. 15 April 2018. Retrieved 15 April 2018.
- ^"CWG 2018: Sathiyan G, Sharath Kamal settle for Silver in men's doubles table tennis". India Today. 14 April 2018. Retrieved 15 April 2018.
- ^"Commonwealth Games 2018: Sharath Kamal leads India to gold medal in men's table tennis team event". Firstpost. 10 April 2018. Retrieved 15 April 2018.
- ^"Achanta Sharath Kamal qualifies for Rio 2016". Inshorts. 16 April 2016. Retrieved 8 August 2016.
- ^"TT Players Mouma, Manika, Soumyajit and Kamal Lose in 1st Round". The Quint. 7 August 2016. Retrieved 8 August 2016.
- ^"PSBB Alumni". PSBB Schools. Retrieved 28 August 2009.
- ^"Achanta Sharath Kamal Fan Webpage". Achanta Sharath Kamal. Archived from the original on 28 May 2010. Retrieved 20 May 2010.
- ^"Sharath Kamal storms into final". The Hindu. Chennai, India. 26 March 2006. Archived from the original on 20 April 2006. Retrieved 26 March 2006.
- ^"Top 6 Storylines Following Round of 32 At WTT Star Contender". edgesandnets.com. 10 March 2021. Retrieved 10 March 2021.
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Full list and schedule of table tennis players to represent India at Olympics 2021
The Olympics 2021 is off to a great start in Tokyo, with Indian archers kickstarting the country's campaign today (July 23). There will be many more sporting events that India will be competing in starting July 24. Table tennis is one such sport which fans will look to keep an eye on. India has four paddlers competing for a place on the Olympic podium.
The Indians had a dismal campaign last time out in Rio. They will be hoping to keep that disappointment aside and put on a great show in Tokyo. Here are the Indian paddlers that will represent India at Olympics 2021.
Indian paddlers competing at Olympics 2021
#1 Sharath Kamal
Sharath Kamal has been the poster boy for Indian table tennis over the years. The 39-year-old has had a stunning career so far and will be heading into his fourth Olympic campaign. Having won many accolades in table tennis, including the four gold at the 2018 Commonwealth Games, Kamal will be hoping to add Olympic glory to his name at the Olympics 2021.
The table tennis draws for the Olympics will see Kamal face some good competition in the early stages. After a bye in the first round of the singles event, he will be up against Tiago Apolonio in the second round.
In the mixed doubles event, Kamal and Manika Batra will face the pair of YJ Lin and IC Cheng in the Round of 16 .The duo from Chinese Taipei are ranked 3rd in the world. Kamal and Batra will have to put on a great show if they are to have any chance at overcoming their Asian counterparts.
#2 Sathiyan Gnanasekaran
Sathiyan Gnanasekaran will be making his debut at the Olympics. The Chennai resident has previously broken into the ITTF Top 25 rankings and has been splendid in recent years. He has also won a gold at the Commonwealth Games and a bronze at the Asian Games in addition to performing well in several other ITTF tournaments.
Sathiyan will only be competing in the men's singles event. After a bye in the first round, he will be facing either Brian Afanador [Puerto Rico] or Lam Siu Hang [Hong Kong] in Round 2 of the event.
#3 Manika Batra
Manika Batra rose to fame after capturing gold at the 2018 Gold Coast Commonwealth Games. The Khel Ratna recipient is expected to have a great Olympic campaign. Her unique style of play will definitely be a bonus when she takes the court.
Batra will compete in the mixed doubles and women's singles event at the Olympics 2021. After facing the Lin-Cheng duo from Chinese Taipei in the mixed doubles event alongside Kamal, she will be up against Tin-Tin Ho of Great Britain in the women's singles event.
#4 Sutirtha Mukherjee
Sutirtha Mukherjee will be making her debut at the Olympics 2021. She was part of the team that won gold at the Commonwealth Games in 2018. The Bengal resident has pulled off some big upsets in her table tennis career so far.
Sutirtha has previously defeated higher-ranked players Petrissa Solja and Cheng I-ching in the Ultimate Table Tennis competition. She qualified for the Olympics after defeating compatriot and ace paddler Manika Batra in the Asia Olympic qualifiers.
Sutirtha will be up against Linda Bergstrom of Sweden in the first round of the women's singles event.
Also Read: Tokyo Olympics 2021 Schedule
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